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Are you a Ottawa cyclist? Do you know the Ontario Highway Traffic Act and Ottawa cycling bylaws?

Ottawa Bicycle Accident Lawyers David Hollingsworth

It looks to be a gorgeous day in Ottawa and I suspect many people will be getting their bicycles out for the first time this year.  Cycling is an amazing activity. Sadly, it is not an activity without it’s risks.  There are many things drivers and cyclists can do to help reduce the likelihood of a cycling accident.  There are also a number of laws in Ottawa surrounding cycling and cycling safety.

For example, did you know that  in certain circumstances a bicycle is considered to be a vehicle and that any collisions must be reported  to Ottawa police if  injuries or damages are in excess of $1,000 ? It’s important to treat a cycling accident like you would a motor vehicle accident.  Gather all the information such as names, phone numbers, witnesses, insurance information, policy numbers etc. As soon as possible, write out your account of what happened in the accident and keep this information in a safe place. Cyclists who are hit by a motor vehicle are entitled to compensation through the driver’s insurance company and Ontario accident benefits.

The Ontario Highway Traffic Act is also quite specific when it comes to bicycles.  If it’s a 1/2  hour before sunset or 1/2 hour after sunrise, or anytime there is reduced visibility. By law, every bicycle must be fully equipped with…

  • A working bell or horn (A fine of $85 can be issued if you are cycling without a working bell or horn)
  • A working braking system on the rear wheel (A fine of $85 can be issued if you are cycling without a proper working braking system)
  • A front light (white) (A fine of $20 can be issued if you are cycling without lights)
  • A  rear light (red) or red rear reflector
  • 2 pieces of white reflective tape on front forks
  • 2 pieces of red reflective tape on rear forks

In Ottawa, bicycle helmets must be worn by all cyclists under 16 years of age. A fine of $60.00 can be issued for not wearing a helmet. All helmets must be CSA or CPSC certified. All helmets need to fit properly and close to the head and all bicycle helmet straps need to fit properly under the ears.

A few basic pathway rules are…

  • Cycle on the right of the yellow centre line
  • Be cautious when passing others
  • Always use a bell/voice/horn when passing others
  • Whenever possible use hand turn signals
  • Cycle at a reasonable speed
  • Exercise caution while cycling in the evening. Slow down, wear bright colored clothes and turn on all bicycle lights

Cyclists who do not yield or stop for pedestrians at crosswalks are subject to a $85.00 fine.

Cyclists who do not walk their bikes  at crosswalks are subject to $85.00

The following are not considered to be bicycles and therefore have different laws :

  • Limited speed motorcycles
  • Motor assisted bicycles
  • Segway Transporters
  • Low speed vehicles
  • Motorized scooters
  • Pocket bikes

Please enjoy your day out on your bicycles and ride safely.  Sadly, I meet too regularly with Ottawa bicycle accident victims who have bit hit, doored or suffered serious personal injuries as a result of a cycling accident. Both drivers and cyclists have their role in helping reduce the number of Ottawa cycling accidents.  Let’s work together on this Ottawa !

 

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