We all know that motorcycles are inherently more dangerous to operate than passenger cars. However, the thrill of the open air, the noise of the powerful engine, and the close connection between driver and road have made motorcycle riding an increasingly popular mode of transportation. In an effort to reduce the risks of riding a motorcycle, enthusiasts are taking considerable steps to protect themselves through the use of sophisticated safety gear. Some examples include protective gloves, plated or padded jackets, reinforced boots and protective pants.
Unlike helmets, none of these categories of motorcycle safety gear are mandatory, nor are they regulated in terms of design, capabilities, or product testing. This unregulated protective gear usually comes with packaging promoting the attributes of the product, such as strength, impact protection and abrasion or tear resistance in the event of a fall or collision. This advertising can be very enticing to the prospective purchaser looking for the best in motorcycle safety. But what can be done when motorcycle safety gear fails to live up to the expectations of the rider, and someone is badly injured or killed in an accident?
In Ontario, our laws respecting negligence on the roadway, as well as product liability, may come to the aid of those who suffer damages in motorcycle accidents. In addition, no-fault accident benefits are also available to motorcycle riders who have been injured. Expert engineers and reconstructionists may need to be retained at the outset to determine who was at fault for the crash, and whether any of the safety gear was defective. As such, the importance of having assistance from the earliest stage cannot be understated.