Modes of Transportation

Adjusting Your Speed When Riding a Motorcycle

On a motorcycle, driving safely for you and others starts with obeying speed limits and adapting your driving to the road context.

Adjusting speed to the road context

It is essential to know when to adjust your speed when riding a motorcycle. You must take into account:

  • the road configuration: visibility, curves, etc.
  • the pavement and road conditions: gravel roads, slippery roadway, etc.
  • traffic density and fluidity: traffic jams, road work zones, etc.
  • weather or environmental conditions: bright sunshine, rain, darkness, fog, wind, etc.

Stopping distance

The stopping distance is the distance travelled from the time you realize that a situation requires you to brake to the time the motorcycle comes to a full stop.

To calculate the stopping distance, the following variables must be taken into account:

  • the perception time: the time required to analyze information that indicates a potential risk
  • the reaction time
  • the braking distance: the distance travelled from the time braking begins to the time the vehicle comes to a stop

Illustration that shows that the higher the speed, the greater the perception time, reaction time, and braking distance.

The braking distance varies depending on:

  • road conditions (rain, leaves, pavement markings)
  • pavement skid resistance and tire traction
  • tire quality, wear and pressure
  • the motorcycle's weight and load
  • suspension settings
  • braking effectiveness

Keeping safety margins

When riding a motorcycle, it is important to keep a safe distance between you and other vehicles. Doing so:

  • allows you to be more visible to other road users
  • provides the flexibility to react in time to the unexpected

Illustration that shows the proper distance to maintain between a motorcycle and other vehicles.

Effect of speed on vision

The brain can only process a limited amount of information at once. The faster a vehicle is moving, the more information the brain receives, thus reducing the field of vision.

For example, if you are in a parked vehicle, your field of vision is slightly wider than 150 degrees. At 100 km/h, your field of vision is reduced by approximately half.

Illustration that shows that as speed increases, the rider’s field of vision decreases.

Speed-related statistics

Speed is one of the leading causes of traffic accidents in Québec.

On average, in 44% of motorcyclist fatalities over the past 5 years, “speeding” was mentioned as one of the two main causes of the accident.

Speeding means...

... driving at a speed above the posted speed limit.

Speeding can lead to demerit points.

Each speeding offence is associated with a fine (PDF, 925.4 ko) and, depending on the number of demerit points you have accumulated in your driving record, an increase in the cost of your driver’s licence.

Fines double for speeding in road work zones or school zones (during the school year)!

In order to ensure the safety of workers, schoolchildren and other road users, fines are doubled when it comes to speeding in road work zones and school zones (during the school year). Take care to obey the posted limits and slow down.

Excessive speeding means...

…driving at a speed that exceeds the speed limit by:

  • 40 km/h or more in a zone where the speed limit is 60 km/h or less
  • 50 km/h or more in a zone where the speed limit is over 60 km/h and up to 90 km/h
  • 60 km/h or more in a zone where the speed limit is 100 km/h or over

Test your knowledge

If you wish to refresh your motorcycle driving knowledge and evaluate your driving skills, go to our Test Your Knowledge section.

Last update: May 30, 2022