"I was involved in a serious motorcycle accident and was given Merv’s name by a friend. Right from our first meeting he was very professional and well organized. Merv and his staff were friendly and easy to talk with. Merv’s experience as a fellow motorcyclist gave him an advantage over the ICBC attorney. I highly recommend Merv to anyone who has been injured in an accident."
"After incurring extensive injuries in a motorcycle accident, I retained Merv Sadden to represent me. I believe his knowledge and operation of motorcycles was a huge asset to the success of my lawsuit. I highly recommend him to anyone involved in a motorcycle related accident."
"Being injured in a motorcycle accident was a life changing event for me. Throughout his involvement Merv Sadden and his team went above and beyond to address my concerns, giving me the representation and support I so desperately needed. Since the date of the accident my well being has only been made possible due to the efforts of Merv and his confident team. Once again I thank you."
"After I was injured in a motorcycle accident I initially contacted my insurance company but found them not helpful so decided to call a personal injury lawyer to assist me. I was aware of Merv Sadden from the ads I have seen with him and his motorcycle. I decided to contact him as I felt he would understand my situation as a fellow rider. That was the most informative phone call I ever made. His knowledge as a rider and as an injury lawyer that represents riders was very helpful. I highly recommend you contact Merv, if you are injured in an accident. Merv was there, every step of the way."
Whether you chalk it up to global warming or plain old Kamloops good luck, spring seems to be well on its way. For those of us that ride, this means we will soon be insuring our motorcycles. With that in mind, I thought it would be helpful to dedicate this column to a few tips I have been taught to assist vehicles and riders to share our roads safely. First, we simply have to remember that motorcycles will soon be on the roads, so we all have to be vigilant and double check our blind spots. As riders, we want to make sure we are both seen and heard; wear reflective and visible clothing, ensure our lights are operating, minimize any time travelling in blind spots and use our horn to alert others of our presence. People sometimes see better with their ears!
Early season riding presents other challenges. Roads may have pot holes and deposits of sand and other debris not yet cleared by street sweepers. This is of particular concern while cornering. With awareness and an understanding attitude, we should all be able to enjoy our roads safely.
After the winter break it can take awhile to regain our comfort and confidence while riding. This is particularly true for new riders. With this in mind, I thought I would pass on a few safety tips I have been taught. For starters, make sure your motorcycle has been serviced by a licensed mechanic to ensure it is mechanically safe. Plan your first rides at times and locations when traffic is low.
Practice emergency braking and obstacle avoidance in an empty parking lot. Be mindful of the temperature; riding in cold or wet weather can slow our reflexes and reduce our ability to react quickly to traffic demands.
There are many other steps we can take to reduce the risk of being involved in an accident. If you have not done so previously, enroll in a professional motorcycle training course. Review and practice the tips and exercises set out in the Learn To Ride Smart and Tuning Up For Riders publications available from ICBC. Plan rides with more experienced riders and discuss with them the safety tips they employ while riding. A lifelong commitment to training and practice sharpens our skills and is our best measure to ensure a safe riding season
The sad truth is that the most common words I hear from the motorists that collide with my motorcycle clients are: I didn’t see him. Recognizing this, there are precautions we can take as riders to minimize that risk. One is to wear visible and reflective clothing. Be seen!
Another is to always be aware of our position on the road relative to the traffic around us and plan a safe emergency exit. As our bikes are not equipped with airbags, bumpers, or seat belts, it is critical that we maintain a cushion of space around us at all times.
For example, when stopping behind a vehicle always leave plenty of open space ahead of you in case the vehicle behind you does not stop. While stationary, monitor your mirrors and keep your bike in gear with your hand on the clutch so you can accelerate forward if necessary. That open space is your safety zone. The more space around you, the safer you will be. Constant awareness of the traffic around us while maintaining a cushion of open space and a planned safe escape route will increase our chances of an accident free ride.
The "blind spot" is the area around a vehicle that its driver is unable to see when shoulder checking or using the mirrors. Vehicles come in various shapes and sizes and as such, the size and location of the blind spot varies. Riding in someone's blind spot is particularly dangerous to those of us on motorbikes as we are more vulnerable to an injury if an accident occurs. Thankfully there are some steps we can take to minimize the risk these blind spots create.
When following a vehicle, remain a comfortable distance behind it so that you will be clearly visible in its rearview mirror. If you need to pass, activate your signal light and then move into the passing lane while still a comfortable distance behind the vehicle. Position your bike to the left side of the passing lane to increase the cushion of space between you and the vehicle. Complete your pass in an efficient and controlled manner minimizing the time you spend travelling through the vehicles blind spot. Never overtake a vehicle as it approaches an intersection. The less time we spend travelling in a blind spot the safer our ride will be.
My rule is to avoid riding at night if at all possible. Sometimes, however, it cannot be avoided and as such, we need to be mindful of the additional risks it presents. Here are a few tips I found helpful:
Darkness can actually improve how visible we are to other motorists if we are properly illuminated. To enhance our presence, we should wear Hi-Vis reflective gear and add reflective strips to our bikes. Replacing the bike's stock head lamp with a better after-market product could also be explored.
Coming upon debris on the road while riding is a hazard at any time. This risk is compounded at night. To reduce this risk, we should only drive as fast as our headlights can illuminate the road in front of us. Our ability to avoid a collision is improved with the more time we have to react.
Encountering an animal at night can be devastating. They are unpredictable and often most active at night. We can reduce our chances of hitting one by paying attention to road signs warning of their presence, reducing our speed, and by constantly scanning the road and ditches ahead for signs of their presence. Even a fraction of a second of advance notice can make a difference.
My experience is that most people spend very little time thinking about insurance and in general it is not well understood. What is liability insurance anyway? It is the insurance we buy for our vehicles to pay for any damage we cause to others when we cause an accident.
For example, while riding our motorcycle we may strike and injure a pedestrian in a cross walk. That person's claim for injury and loss is against the driver and owner of the motorcycle. The liability insurance we buy on our motorcycle is there to pay for that loss so that we do not have to pay for it personally. If the motorcycle was uninsured, then the driver and owner would be personally liable to pay for the loss.
So how much liability insurance should we buy? My recommendation is at least $3 million on a motorcycle. The difference in the premium cost between $1 million and $3 million is minimal. Ask your agent.
Remember - if you injure your passenger their claim is against you. You will want to make sure that you have adequate insurance to cover the loss incurred by your friend or loved one. As we are not protected by a cabin, seat belt, or airbag, injuries in motorcycle accidents can be very serious.
With our warm summer weather it can be tempting to go for a ride without the proper protective gear. We have all seen it — riders and passengers on their bikes in nothing but a helmet, t-shirt and shorts. It may look cool, but is it worth the risk? Thankfully, BC Law mandates that all occupants on motorcycles wear a motorcycle helmet that meets designated safety standards. Helmets come in a variety of styles from half helmets all the way to the full face version that protects our entire head.
We are all aware of the growing awareness of concussions and their consequences. As such, the wisdom in wearing the best protection for our heads cannot be overstated. In addition to helmets, proper riding gear includes, at a minimum, motorcycle pants, a long sleeved jacket and gloves all designed with armor plates in the appropriate areas to provide protection against road rash in the event of a crash. A good pair of riding boots that provides protection for our feet, ankles, and shins is also important. Today’s technology provides for a selection of fabrics that are lightweight and comfortable to wear even in warm weather while still providing good protection from injury. No matter what gear we may own, it will only protect against injury if we wear it.
Taking a passenger for a ride on a motorcycle requires much forethought and preparation. Like most things though, it gets easier with experience. For starters, your bike must be properly equipped to carry a passenger.
BC law requires all passengers to be tall enough for their feet to reach designated foot pegs or floorboards. The extra weight of your passenger must also be taken into consideration. The additional weight will affect the way your bike turns, accelerates, and stops. As such, before you venture into traffic, it is wise to practice these skills in a quiet location so that both you and your passenger can learn how your bike will handle with the extra weight. It is also your responsibility to educate your passenger about what to expect while riding. Communication is key.
Motorcycles must lean to make turns so your passenger must be taught to pay careful attention while riding and to lean with you. They must also be taught to sit as still as possible while stopped or travelling at low speeds to avoid causing a loss of balance.
Finally, a safe riding experience necessitates that both you and your passenger wear an approved properly fitted helmet and protective riding gear.