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Avoiding Common Motorcycle Accidents

It's no secret that most motorcycle accidents fall into just a handful of categories. These are:

  • an oncoming automobile turns left across the path of the motorcycle

  • the motorcyclist hits a patch of gravel in a turn and slides out

  • an automobile changes lanes and sideswipes the motorcycle

  • the motorcyclist enters a turn too fast, panics, and goes upright (or drops)
Fortunately, there are many things motorcyclists can do to limit the chance of being involved in these types of accidents. This includes wearing bright clothing to increase your visibility, enter turns slower to allow time to react to changing conditions, be aware of other drivers' blind spots and avoid them as much as possible, and work on your emergency avoidance and braking skills in, for example, an empty parking lot. As they say, avoiding an accident is the best outcome of all.

Check out Wes Siler's in depth article "10 Common Motorcycle Accidents and How To Avoid Them" for more tips and detailed discussion about how motorcyclists can work to avoid accidents.
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Driving Into Sun Glare

It’s no secret that Ontario sees all kinds of weather conditions. Weather fluctuation can affect driving safety. As spring approaches and with summer around the corner, sun glare becomes an issue for drivers. Sun glare is at times blinding. It can and does contribute to motor vehicle accidents that have devastating and at times fatal results (see "Police investigating sun glare in fatal Port Hope collision").

In hopes of helping drivers navigate safely in sunny conditions, we have prepared a list of tips for avoiding and dealing with sun glare:

  • Keep your windshield clean: as counter-intuitive as this might seem, the particles on a dirty windshield intensify the glare as opposed to blocking it. A film can also develop on the inside of the glass, making sunny days trickier. Make sure that both the interior and the exterior of your windshield are kept clean to minimize the glare.

  • Be mindful. One of the most dangerous attributes of sunrise/sunset glare is that it comes up so suddenly. However, it is up to you to make sure that you are prepared for it, so keep your eyes focused farther down the road, and be aware when you are turning into the sun.

  • Drive defensively. Adjust your speed when driving into the sun, and understand that other drivers may also slow down significantly, or even stop suddenly. Leaving a larger gap between you and the car in front of you will also help to keep everyone safe.

  • Keep a set of polarized sunglasses handy: these sunglasses can protect your eyes from the sun’s glare, and can just be kept in your car within reach for these occasions.

  • Additional visors — pulling your visor down to combat strong sun glare is an option available to all drivers, but you can also purchase additional, temporary visors to use. If you decide to use one, just be sure to test it out first, as they can also block your view as well.

  • Use headlights — even during very bright days, having headlights on can help you be more visible to other drivers.
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Construction Zone Hazards

Across Ontario, there were 1,694 collisions in construction zones in 2013 (the most recent year for which data is available). In 2015 alone, there were 8 reported deaths caused by construction zone car accidents. The aftermath has been stricter law enforcement and awareness campaigns designed to keep workers out of harm’s way. When approaching a construction zone, there are typical precautions that every driver should be aware of and practice:

1. Slow down when you see the cones on the road:
  • Plan your route and allow extra travel time
  • Expect the unexpected and don’t tailgate
  • Slow down to posted speed limits and pay attention
  • Allow extra space between your vehicle and the one in front of you

2. Be more aware when you are driving, especially in the presence of the cones:
  • Never use a cell phone or text while driving
  • Follow sign and flag directions
  • Get to know the work-zone signs.

3. Understand that road workers and other people who work in the area are fathers, mothers, friends, etc., and their safety is just as important as anyone else’s. You can show your respect by:
  • Making eye contact
  • Keeping your cool and being patient
  • Slowing down even if you don’t see anyone working. Hazards such as traffic shifts or lane reductions may appear suddenly.

Construction zones are hazardous in nature and car accidents can occur due to:
  • Inadequate or improper signage before a construction zone
  • Unsafe road conditions due to road repairs, heavy equipment and construction debris
  • Unsafe turns, road blockages and lane closures before and after a construction zone, and
  • Failure to protect road workers

It’s important that drivers approach construction zones with caution and acknowledge the associated risks.

Giving Notice After Falling On Municipal Property

The law in Ontario provides specific procedures for actions brought against a City or Municipality. Clients often find themselves confused by these rules which can create delay and subsequent legal hurdles for potential claims.

Giving Notice:
First and foremost, before suing a municipality you must give notice within 10 days of the incident. Notice must be done in writing and given to the clerk of the municipality. The information that must be included in the notice must meet certain legal requirements. It is best to seek the assistance of a lawyer in preparing the notice and this should be done immediately.

You’ve failed to Give Notice:
There are two circumstances where an injured person would not be required to give notice within the 10 days: (1) the injured person dies; and (2) if a judge determines that there was a reasonable excuse for the "want or the insufficiency of the notice and that the municipality is not prejudiced in its defence."

Claims against municipalities often involve maintenance failures. The typical case is a slip or trip and fall while walking on a damaged sidewalk. These cases can be especially difficult. It is important to seek out proper legal representation. Our lawyers have extensive knowledge and experience in these types of claims. We understand the predicament you are in after sustaining injuries; that ten days is a short amount of time to provide notice; and that your health is of upmost importance. Wolfe Lawyers will ensure that your claim is dealt with professionally and correctly.
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