Motorcycle Safety

Driving a motorcycle or moped is different from driving a car or any other kind of vehicle.

Licensed motorcyclists need to use specialized knowledge and skills to be safe on the road.
Learn more about riding safely.

On this page

  1. Be alert
  2. Be seen
  3. Tips to ride safely
  4. Sharing the road with large vehicles

Be alert

Driving a motorcycle requires physical effort and full concentration to remain safe and be in control. Being mentally and physically prepared is key.

In Ontario, deaths from collisions caused by distracted driving have doubled since 2000. While you are driving, including when you are stopped in traffic or at a red light, it is illegal to:

  • use a phone or other hand-held wireless communication device to text or dial
  • use a hand-held electronic entertainment device
  • view display screens unrelated to driving
  • program a GPS device

Be seen

One of the most common causes of collisions between motorcycles and cars is the car driver turning left in front of the oncoming motorcycle, often due to speeding or lack of visibility. 

All motorcycles must have a white light at the front (headlight) and a red light at the back (rear or tail light). Turn on your headlight at all times.

It is often easier to see or be seen in the daytime; consider adding reflective tape to your helmet, clothing and vehicle. Motorcycle riders wearing brightly-coloured clothing and reflective items – particularly in low-light conditions, such as rain – can be more visible to other drivers on the road

Tips to ride safely

Single-rider motorcycles can use High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes – a much safer part of the road for them.

Lane sharing, splitting and filtering are prohibited when riding a motorcycle.

More safe riding tips to be aware of are:

Blind spots: There is an area on each side of your motorcycle that you cannot see in your mirror. You may not see people or vehicles when they are in these blind spots. Always turn your head and check over your shoulder before you turn or change lanes. Don’t drive in another driver’s blind spot, and don’t let another vehicle drive in your blind spot – either drop back or pass the other driver.

Intersections: Most collisions between motorcycles and other vehicles happen at intersections. It is important to check your mirrors when you are stopped at an intersection or before you slow down or stop suddenly. If the driver behind you is not paying attention, they may be dangerously close before noticing you are there.

Riding in groups: Keep a minimum following distance of two seconds between each motorcycle. Motorcycles riding together in a staggered formation allows the group to stay close without reducing following distance, however, riding in staggered formation should be avoided when riding in a group of vehicles that cannot maintain the posted speed of the road. In that situation, it is better to ride in single file.

Sharing the road with large vehicles

Passing a large vehicle on a motorcycle can be dangerous and difficult. Large vehicles have large blind spots on both sides.

To stay in control and safely share the road with large vehicles, motorcyclists should avoid following too closely behind a large vehicle. Stay well back and leave plenty of room when stopped behind a large vehicle, such as bus or tractor-trailer.

Recommended for you

Back to Top