Tips for Safe Cycling - Diamond and Diamond Lawyers
  • Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Tips for Safe Cycling

#AskPatrycjaMajchrowicz

You might have noticed more people riding bicycles throughout Ontario. More and more Canadians have discovered the benefits of leaving their cars at home and using a bicycle to commute to work or simply to get around town. Whether sharing the streets with other vehicles or being used on a remote trail, bicycles offer an environmentally friendly means of transportation that also provides plenty of exercise, but there are risks associated with cycling. Approximately 7,500 Canadians suffer serious injuries in bicycle accidents each year, so it is important for cyclists and motorists to observe a few precautions to prevent bicycle accidents and cyclist injuries.

Obey the rules of the road

You might associate bicycles with children and think of them as toys, but Ontario traffic laws classify bicycles as vehicles. Cyclists have the same rights and obligations as drivers of cars, trucks and other types of vehicles, but they also must obey all traffic laws, including riding far to the right as possible.

Because they are vehicles under the law, bicycles can be used on all roads except 400-series roads and other limited access highways in Ontario. Pedestrian cross overs offer another situation where bicycles are treated differently than other types of vehicles. Cyclists must dismount and walk their bicycle at a pedestrian cross over.

Wear a helmet

Helmets help reduce the severity of injuries suffered by bicycle riders in the event of an accident. They have been proven to be a factor in reducing head injuries. It is a good idea from a safety perspective for all bicycle riders to wear an approved helmet even though Ontario law only requires riders 18 years of age and younger to wear an approved helmet. The law makes parents of children 16 years of age and younger responsible for ensuring their child wears a helmet when riding a bicycle.

There are organizations in Canada and the U.S. that test bicycle helmets to ensure they meet minimum safety standards and protect wearers in the event of an accident. Those organizations include Snell, the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission, and the Canadian Standards Association. A helmet bearing a sticker indicating certification by one of these testing organizations meets the legal requirement for being an approved helmet.

Motorists should obey the law about passing a cyclist

Ontario law requires that drivers leave a space of at least one metre when passing a bicycle rider. A motorist attempting to pass a cyclist is permitted to cross a roadway’s centre line to create the space needed to pass the cyclist while remaining in compliance with the law. If the proper distance cannot be maintained while passing, a motorist must wait before attempting the manoeuvre. Violation of the law is punishable by a fine and demerit points.

Motorists must stop to observe road conditions before opening vehicle doors

A motorist opening the door of a car or other vehicle in such a way as to pose a danger to a passing cyclist is subject to a fine and demerit points. Opening a car door without looking to see if it is safe to do so without striking or impeding a passing cyclist can cause an accident and injury to the rider. A violation is punishable by a fine and demerit points.

Ontario bicycle accident lawyers

If you have been injured in a cycling accident, the personal injury lawyers at Diamond and Diamond have years of experience successfully handling claims for compensation on behalf of injured accident victims throughout Ontario. Call the Diamond and Diamond 24/7 injury hotline at 1-800-567-HURT or visit our website to speak to someone now. We have offices located throughout Ontario offering free consultations and case evaluations to injury victims and their families.

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