Summer has arrived in Ontario (finally!) and this means we’ll start to see a lot more bicycles on the road. Cycling is a great form of exercise, an alternative way to commute, and a fun way to reduce our carbon footprint.
Unfortunately, motorists and cyclists are still often at odds when it comes to sharing the road. Last year, the City of Hamilton added two way protected bike lanes and will continue to improve cyclist options over the next few years. This will no doubt help to reduce accidents, but both motorists and cyclists must be aware of the rules to successfully share the road and avoid accidents and injuries.
There are a few things both cyclists and drivers can do to avoid motor vehicle accidents involving bicycles. Nyland Personal Injury Law specializes in various types of motor vehicle accidents and should be your first choice when you’re looking for a bicycle accident lawyer.
Tips for Cyclists
When bicycles are involved in an accident with motor vehicles, often the cyclist sustains the worst injuries, from broken bones, to brain injuries, to death. There are many things cyclists can do to help avoid accidents or minimize injuries.
- Use bicycle lanes
- Use the proper equipment
Many cities are increasing the availability of bicycle lanes on main roads. Where possible, make use of these lanes and areas to help ensure bicycle safety. Make sure to only ride your bicycle in areas where they are permitted – often, they are not allowed on sidewalks or highways.
Signalling while cycling is necessary for letting motorists know where you intend to go. If hand signals are too difficult to remember, there are also electronic signals that you can install on your bicycle. By signalling, you won’t be making any unexpected moves that could confuse drivers and lead to an accident.
While helmets aren’t legally required if you’re above 18, it’s essential to always wear one for bicycle safety. In the event of an accident, helmets can save your life!
In Ontario, it’s illegal to ride a bicycle between half an hour before dusk or half an hour after dawn without a white front light and red back light or reflector. You could be fined $500 without these. Reflective tape on the frame can also increase your visibility for motorists at night.
Tips for Drivers
Unfortunately, in most motor vehicle accidents involving bicycles, the motorists are at fault. By adhering to a few rules and courtesies, motorists can reduce the number of bicycle accidents.
- Pass a cyclist properly
- Don’t follow cyclists too closely
- Be cautious of ‘dooring’
In Ontario, cyclists must be given at least one metre of space to manoeuvre. If a motorist wants to pass a cyclist or drive alongside, they must provide this one metre buffer or they face fines up to $500.
When driving behind a cyclist, remember not to drive too closely. You wouldn’t tailgate a car, so don’t tailgate a cyclist! Bicycles aren’t equipped with brake lights, so a sudden stop or change in speed could catch a motorist off guard and lead to an accident.
‘Dooring’ refers to when a motorist opens the car door into a cyclist, causing the cyclist to either crash into the door or swerve into traffic – both of which can lead to serious injuries for a cyclist. Always remember to check for oncoming cyclists before opening your door after parking. If a motorist is found guilty of ‘dooring’ a cyclist, they can be fined $365 and 3 demerit points!
Have you been involved in a bicycle accident?
Sometimes, even when trying to stay aware and follow the rules, motor vehicle accidents with bicycles still happen. If you are involved in a bicycle accident, make sure to document your injuries and file a police report.
Insurance and compensation will be treated differently depending on the cyclist, driver, accident, policies, and injuries. Sometimes, these accidents and varying insurance policies are complex and it can quickly become a difficult situation to navigate.
At Nyland Personal Injury Law, we have the experience dealing with insurance companies to get you the maximum amount of compensation owed to you. We know the rights of cyclists and how devastating a cycling accident can be. When you’re looking for a bicycle accident lawyer, look no further than Nyland Personal Injury Law. Let us help you get the compensation you deserve!