It’s a sure sign of spring when neighborhood streets and sidewalk traffic is jammed with kids on bikes, their flowered baskets and suped up BMX models. Kids love bikes, but travelling at high speeds, lack of control over the bike when learning and neglecting to wear a helmet contribute to the risk and a cycling accident can be the end result for this popular spring pastime.
Who is at most at risk of a cycling accident?
Much has been written about the safety of our urban cyclist and cycling accidents and commuters, but children between the ages of 1 and 14 have the highest incidence of hospitalization due to bicycle injury. (Canada injury compass 2015.) Speed loving, stunt driving 10 – 14 years olds have the highest rate of hospitalization, followed by kids 5 – 9 years old leaving the little ones 1 – 4 with the lowest rate of injury. Not surprisingly, boys are injured far more often than girls. In 2010 – 2011 670 boys were hospitalized compared to only 195 girls. (CHIH’s Hospital Morbidity Database 2010 – 2011) Also notable is that the types of injuries sustained varied between age groups. 1 – 10 year olds were more likely to be injured due to loss of control and speed or distraction, whereas children aged 10 – 14 were injured doing stunts, tricks and biking on rough terrain. This age group was also involved in accidents with other motor vehicles. In all of these cases, there were head injuries which could have serious consequences short and long-term. Traumatic brain injuries are the leading cause of severe injury to kids on bicycles.
How to avoid a cycling accident
As with any sport or childhood activity, the best way to avoid treatment is through prevention. Make sure that your child always wears a helmet. Helmet use reduces the severity of injury by 80%. Parents should also wear helmets both for their safety and to model positive behaviour in their children. If you would like more information on insurance claims involving a cycling accident, we would be happy to provide you with a free consultation.
Ottawa’s cycling culture continues to grow at a rapid pace. With the introduction of bike new bike lanes, cycling safety education, new safety measures such as Bill 31, Making Ontario’s Roads Safer, Cycling Safety Awareness Program (CSAP) and a general awareness less, it seems that there are more and more cyclists on Ottawa’s roads and many cycling infrastructure improvements .
Cycling rules in Ottawa
In Ottawa, cyclists are allowed on mixed-use pathways; however cyclists should follow these safety guidelines:
- Where there is one, always stay on the right of the yellow centre line
- Pass other cyclists safely
- Notify other cyclists when you are passing. Use a bell or notify them with your voice.
- Always drive in control.
- Make sure you are always well lit. Ride carefully, especially when it’s dark.
- Use a bicycle light.
Cycling on the sidewalk is prohibited by the City of Ottawa Traffic and Parking By-law except where it is permitted by official or authorized signs.
Cyclists under 18 must, by law, wear a helmet in Ontario.
Cyclists must have an alarm, bell or horn on their bike.
When cycling at night or in low visibility conditions, you need a white front light and a red rear reflector.
Bicycles must also have 25 cm of white reflective tape on the front forks and 25 cm of red reflective tape on the back forks .
On pathways, always stay under the courtesy limit of 20 km/h.
Cyclists wear a helmet (required if under 18 years old)
Ottawa Police are currently conducting an educational, awareness-building campaign that focuses on the new one-metre rule, which came into effect in Ontario in September 2015. Drivers are expected to leave at least one metre between themselves and a cyclist, when passing. Failure to do so could result in a fine.
The more drivers and cyclists work together to make our city a safe place to drive and cycle, the better we can make our city.
If you haven’t heard by now, the rules of road are still changing. As of June 21st, Ottawa police began testing the one meter rule that was passed as part of Ontario’s “Making Ontario’s Roads Safer Act” back in September of 2015. The act was designed to make roads safer for everyone, especially cyclists. The idea behind the act is that if drivers remember to leave 1 metre between themselves and a cyclists when passing to ensure a safe passing, fewer cycling accidents will occur. Ontario drivers who violate this law can face a $180 fine and receive 2 demerit points.
Will the one-meter reduce the chance of an Ottawa cycling accident ?
This new legislation strives to ensure that all road pass cyclists at a safe distance. The Ottawa Police set out on June 21, with one-metre reading device attached to their bicycle. The device then measures the distance between their bicycle and a passing vehicle to determine if the one-meter space between themselves and a cyclist is present. If the vehicle is passing too closely, the device on the Police bicycle will beep.
Ottawa is one of the first municipalities in all of Canada to be using the one-metre device technology. This comes as no surprise as Ottawa has been working on and developing its cycling culture for some time now. With close to 1.2 million Ontarians riding their bicycles on a daily basis, it’s no wonder cycling safety initiatives are paramount. Sadly, any personal injury lawyer in Ottawa will also tell you, some of the worst cases we see are cycling accidents.
Ontario government and cycling safety
As of late, the government has imposed strict consequences for drivers who fail to proceed safely around cyclists. Ontario drivers now face an increased minimum fine of $365 for “dooring” , which is opening a vehicle’s door and causing a cyclist to crash into the vehicle. The hope is with further developments in cycling safety, our roads will eventually have fewer and fewer cycling accidents. The one-metre rule is likely just the beginning of cycling safety rules to come.
On the flip side, cyclists also have to do their share in keeping safe roads. By law, cyclists can also be fined if it is determined that the laws of the road were not followed and common sense safety precautions were not present. Cyclists also face a fined $110 for missing front lights and back reflectors.
If both drivers and cyclists do their part, we can strive together for safer road conditions for all.
What can cyclists do to avoid dooring accidents in Ottawa ?
Drivers, pedestrians and cyclists can all help in reducing dooring accidents. Cyclists can try as best as possible to leave enough room between themselves and the side walk. If there is enough room for a buffer, say the width of a car door, then cyclists stand a much better chance at staying safe and avoiding a dooring accident. It goes without saying that all cyclists should try as much as possible to be visible. this includes wearing brightly coloured clothes and lights. Cyclists can also reduce their chance of an accident by avoiding weaving between cars and staying in a vehicle’s blind spot.
What can motorists do to avoid accidents in Ottawa ?
Motorists play a vital role in reducing dooring accidents in Ottawa. It goes without saying the first step to avoiding a dooring accident would be to take a good long look before opening your door and exiting your vehicle. Section 165 of the Ontario Highway Traffic Act states that you must check for traffic and this includes cyclists. Taking a few extra seconds can go a long way in helping reduce the number of dooring accidents in Ottawa.
Sadly dooring accidents are a very real concern in the Ottawa area. Let’s all do our part to reduce the number of cycling accidents in Ottawa!
Ottawa Cycling Accident
Did you know that there are roughly 300 reported collisions annually between bicycles and motor vehicles in Ottawa ? As Ottawa injury lawyers, we meet regularly with people who have been in a cycling accident and have been injured. It goes without saying that typically when an accident occurs between a cyclist and a motor vehicle, it is the cyclist that suffers the most serious injuries. One day we received a request for a free consultation from a woman. “AD” was looking for some advice as she had been cycling and suffered several injuries. She wanted maximum compensation for her injuries.
Injuries Resulting From Accident:
AD was 35 year old single woman at the time of her motor vehicle accident. One day she was riding her bicycle across a cross walk when she was struck by a vehicle. She sustained a right knee fracture, suffered from chronic neck pain, concussion and partial tear of right pectoral muscle. She also suffered from brief period of depression and anxiety. The concern was whether or not these injuries would fully heal and would our client be able to return to a quality of life she once had? Thankfully, we were able to consult with some of the top medical experts in Ottawa, whom we work with daily. We have an established relationship with some of top medial professionals and specialists in Ottawa.
Compensation for Injury:
Thankfully, most of AD’s injuries did heal and following her accident she was able to return to full time employment. Our Ottawa injury lawyers were able to settle this case with the insurance company without having to go to court and dragging out the process any longer. After a private settlement conference, our Ottawa injury lawyers were able to negotiate a favourable settlement with the insurance company in the amount of $131,000.00 for this cycling accident in Ottawa. This allowed our client to move on and put some closure to this accident and time in her life.
If you have been injured in a cycling accident and need advice from an Ottawa lawyer, contact us. There is a lot of information available to you that you need to make an informed decision.
*Please note: Past results are not necessarily indicative of future results and that the amount recovered and other litigation outcomes will vary according to the facts in individual cases.
As Ottawa personal injury lawyers we meet regularly with cyclists who have been “doored” . In a busy city like Ottawa, cyclists and drivers share the road. Although the City of Ottawa has designated bike lanes and paths, inevitable , there are areas in the city where cyclists must be on the same roads as drivers. Sadly, cycling accidents in Ottawa occur and they occur often. Nearly all cycling fatalities (92%) occurred as a result of crashes with motor vehicles. (Sharetheroad.ca) Another type of cycling accident is when cyclists and motor vehicles collide. Our lawyers helped and worked closely with “JJ” to ensure he received maximum compensation for his injuries. JJ was a 72 year-old man from Ottawa. One day, he was riding his bicycle and was “doored” by a driver of a motor vehicle who was attempting to exit his vehicle. JJ was thrown off his bicycle injuring his right shoulder.
Injuries Resulting From Accident:
Compensation for Injury:
After tough negotiation we were able to get the insurance company to settle at a private settlement conference before prolonged litigation proceedings. JJ received $ 41,000 from the tort action. On the Accident Benefits side of his claim, our client continues to receive medical and rehabilitation benefits from the insurance company. After a settlement of this nature, our clients are typically able to move on and put the past behind them. Our lawyers understand what needs to happen to help our clients get the compensation they need and then move forward after a difficult time in their life.
To learn more about cycling accidents, the rights of cyclists and what you should do if you or a loved on becomes injured in a cycling accident, visit www.ottawainjury.ca/cycling-accidents for more information or contact us directly and we would be happy to answer your questions free of charge.
* Past results are not necessarily indicative of future results and that the amount recovered and other litigation outcomes will vary according to the facts in individual cases.