In a world we’re people are looking for more sustainable and cheaper modes of transportation, Canadians have discovered the benefits of using bicycles to get around instead of their vehicles. Leaving their cars and home and using muscle power to commute to work or get around town has many health benefits, is kinder to the environment and is cheaper on the finances. Bicycles offer an environmentally friendly way to get around and plenty of accidents.
Despite these benefits, there are risks to riding your bicycle. Statistics show that roughly 7500 Canadians suffer serious injuries in bike accidents every year. This number is significant. It means that cyclists and motorists need to take steps to make sure that people who ride bicycles can do so as safely as possible.
Rules of the Road
Bicycles are not toys, despite them often being associated with children. Ontario traffic laws classify bikes as vehicles which means that cyclists have the same rights and obligations as drivers of motorized vehicles. They have the right to be on the road, for example, but their obligation is that they need to obey all traffic laws including driving as far right as possible on the road.
Since Ontario law classifies bicycles as vehicles, this means that they can be used on all roads except 400 series roads and other limited access highways. If you’re a vehicle driver on most Ontario roads (excluding highways), you would be in the wrong to think that bicycles do not have the right to share the roads with you.
Cyclists must also watch out for pedestrians. While cyclists are allowed to use pedestrian cross overs, they much get off their bikes and walk at the pedestrian cross over.
Personal Injury Lawyer in Richmond Hill knows that helmets have been proven in numerous studies to reduce head injuries in cyclists who wear them. They reduce the severity of the injuries suffered in the event of an accident. Ontario law requires riders 18 years old and younger to wear an approved helmet. Although adults are not legally required to wear a helmet, all riders should wear one for safety. Adults are responsible for making sure children 16 years old and younger wear a helmet when riding a bicycle.
Approved helmets are those that have been tested to meet minimum safety standards necessary to protect wearers in the event of an accident. When looking to purchase an approved helmet, watch for ones that have been approved by the Canadian Standards Association, Snell or the US Consumer Product Safety Commission. Helmets approved by these organizations will have a certification sticker stating that the inspected helmet meats the legal requirements for safety.
Motorists and Car Doors
While many motorists are aware that they cannot try to run a bicycle off the road, they may not be aware that they also need to be careful when opening their car doors.
A motorist who opens a vehicle door in a way that is dangerous to a passing cyclist could be fined or get demerit points on their license. Motorists are required to make sure that it is safe to open their vehicle door so that it doesn’t strike a passing cyclist and cause injury to the rider.