As a cyclist, there are a variety of hazards that you face on the road. The most serious of cycling accidents occur when there is a motorized vehicle involved. Some common accidents between cars and bicycles happen for the following reasons:
- A motorist opens their car door in front of an approaching cyclist.
- A motorist makes a left turn in front of an approaching cyclist.
- A motorist cuts off an approaching cyclist when making a right turn.
- A motorist pulls out in front of a cyclist that is going through an intersection.
- A cyclist is hit from behind (this most often occurs in rural areas at night – especially when there are insufficient reflectors or lights on the bicycle).
- A motorist pulls out of their driveway in front of an oncoming cyclist.
Accidents between a car and a bicycle can be more serious when the cyclist is not wearing a helmet. According to Trillium Health Partners, wearing a helmet while cycling can reduce the risk of sustaining a serious head injury by 60-90%.
The Highway Traffic Act classifies a bicycle as a vehicle. This means that cyclists have to follow the same traffic laws as drivers and may not carry passengers. Furthermore, all cyclists who are under the age of 18 are required to wear a helmet. While cyclists over the age of 18 are not required by law to wear a helmet, they are strongly encouraged to do so.
Many Cycling Accidents Occur Because Drivers Don’t Look Out for Cyclists
While drivers often accuse cyclists of causing the accident, the reverse is more often true. According to Statistics Canada, one in three cycling fatalities may have occurred because traffic rules were not respected.
If found to be at fault in a collision, motorists can face several fines and penalties. The Making Ontario’s Roads Safer Act (Bill 31) was passed in 2015. Some of the penalties under this legislation include:
- 3 demerit points and a $365 fine for dooring a cyclist.
- 2 demerit points and a $110 fine for failing to leave at least 1 meter of room when passing a cyclist (the fine is increased in community safety zones).
- Cyclists can receive a $110 fine for having inadequate bike lights 30 minutes before sunset and 30 minutes after sunrise.
Common Injuries that Result from Bicycle and Motorist Collisions
A variety of injuries can occur when there is a collision between a car and a bicycle. The most common non-fatal injuries include:
- Injuries to the arms and legs including fractures, strains, dislocated shoulders and scrapes and bruises.
- Concussions and non-fatal skull injuries.
- Spinal cord injuries.
- Injuries to the chest and abdomen.
Most common fatal injuries include:
- Fatal head and brain injuries.
- Catastrophic injuries to the chest or pelvis.
Personal Injury Lawsuits
In addition to charges for violating traffic laws, drivers may also face lawsuits related to personal injuries sustained by cyclists if involved in a collision. Also, cyclists may claim their injuries against their insurance company and the driver’s insurance company. The ability to make claims to one’s insurance company is especially important in scenarios where the driver leaves the scene and is not identified – which unfortunately can be quite common.
Contact Hoffman Law today
If you or a family member has been injured in a cycling accident because of a careless or neglectful driver, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact Hoffman Law today for a free consultation.