Bicycle Safety in Ontario

riding bike with carsCycling is a popular activity throughout Windsor and Ontario during the warmer months. However, it is also very dangerous. Every year, approximately 7,500 cyclists are seriously injured, according to Statistics Canada.

In a report released by the Ontario chief coroner in 2012, 100 per cent of the 129 bicycle accident deaths that occurred in the province between 2006 and 2010 were preventable.

In more than two-thirds of the cases, the cyclist was partly responsible for the accident by failing to obey traffic signs or traffic rules. In accidents caused by motorists, drivers were most often speeding or distracted.

Additionally, the majority of cycling accidents occur at intersections and locations with traffic signals and signs.

In order to encourage bicycle safety, it is important that both cyclists and motorists know and obey important laws and regulations.

Ontario Bicycle Laws

Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act considers bicycles to be vehicles. This means that cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicles and must obey all traffic laws:

  • Cyclists are permitted to ride on most roads throughout the province except on highways with controlled access, such as Highway 401 and roads with a pedestrian crossover, which requires a cyclist to dismount and walk to the other side.
  • Cyclists must ride as far right on the road as possible. However, they are forbidden from riding in crosswalks.
  • Cyclists cannot carry passengers if their bike is only meant for one person.
  • Cyclists under the age of 18 must wear a helmet. Although adults are not required to wear a helmet, it is highly encouraged as bicycle helmets save lives.
  • Cyclists should wear bright clothing including a light, reflector and reflective tape on their bike.
  • All bicycles must have a bell, gong or horn attached to it at all times.
  • Beginning at the start of 2017, cyclists must obey new bicycle traffic signals that are used to direct bicycle traffic at intersections. The signals look like a regular traffic light with the shape of a bicycle as the lights. Failure to obey these signals could result in an $85 fine.

Driver Safety Around Bicycles

Bicycle safety, however, is not solely dependent on cyclists. It is also important that motorists do their part to ensure bicycle safety, especially because cyclists lack the protections of traditional vehicles.

Motorists should:

  • Obey all traffic laws and signals, including posted speed limits and traffic lights
  • Leave at least a one-metre distance when passing a bicycle
  • Watch for cyclists when making turns
  • Watch for bicyclists when opening a vehicle door, including both driver and passenger doors
  • Yield the right of way to a dismounted cyclist in a crosswalk
  • Never drive while distracted or under the influence
  • Always scan the road and look well ahead for any potential hazards, including bicyclists

What to Do If You are Injured in a Bicycle Accident

If you have been involved in a bicycle accident, it is likely that you suffered serious injuries. However, if you are able, there are several steps you should take after the accident while you are at the scene of the crash and in the days after:

  • Call 9-1-1.
  • Do not turn down medical care.
  • Wait for police to arrive.
  • Provide a detailed explanation of your view of the event and make sure it is accurately recorded in the police report.
  • Get the contact information of the driver and any witnesses, including full name, phone number, email and driver’s license number.
  • Document your injuries, the accident scene, and damage to your bike and other personal property by taking photos and writing notes about what you saw, heard and felt leading up to, during and after the accident.
  • If you were not taken to the hospital, seek immediate medical care for your injuries.
  • Keep your equipment in the same damaged state as it was at the accident scene and do not have anything fixed until the full extent of the damage is documented. You can obtain quotes for how much it will cost to replace or repair any of your equipment.
  • Keep copies of your medical records and all documentation associated with your injuries and medical care.
  • Seek advice from a seasoned legal professional.

It is always in your best interest to speak with a reputable personal injury lawyer after any type of collision. Our attorneys have decades of experience representing those who have been injured in Windsor and the surrounding areas.

We can advise you of your legal options and will work to ensure your rights are protected throughout the process. We are dedicated to helping you get the compensation you need to recover from your injuries.

Contact the bicycle accident lawyers at Greg Monforton & Partners today for a free, no obligation consultation if you have been injured or lost a loved one in a bicycle collision.

Call (866) 320-4770 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form today.