Ottawa Cycling Accident Lawyer
Well it is officially summer . What a gorgeous day to be out on a bicycle and although Ottawa has many designated cycling paths, a cycling accident can happen anytime, any place. We thought this would be a great time to review a few cycling safety tips and ideas on how to keep you and your children safe while cycling.
The first tip is the most obvious: Always wear a helmet..that includes parents too. Although the law only requires cyclists under 18 to wear a helmet, it’s the right thing to do. Lead by example and show your children that yes, even adults need to protect themselves while cycling.
Replace a helmet if its is at all damaged or cracked. You might think it seems like just a small crack; however, a small crack on a helmet is enough to compromise the helmet and render it useless in a cycling accident.
Make sure the helmet fits properly. There is no point in wearing an ill-fitting helmet if it’s going to fall off in impact. The Ontario government promotes the “2-4-1 Helmet Salute” a proper fitting helmet is when 1) you can fit “2” fingers between the helmet and the eyebrows, 2) helmet straps meet in a “V” shape below the ears (that’s 4 fingers) and lastly 3) one finger would fit between the chin strap and the chin.
If you wear a helmet properly, the helmet will absorb the force of the impact from hitting your head and spread that force throughout the helmet; which then reduces the impact on the brain. When the brain crashes , it moves throughout the fluid in the skull and hits the sides of the skull. Often times, an impact of this nature can leave a brain bruised, swollen or bleeding. The result can be a brain injury and many brain injuries are permanent and life altering.
Avoiding Ottawa Cycling Accidents
Ride the right size of bicycle. Yes, your child might be excited to move up to the next size of bicycle; however you need to make sure they are riding a bicycle with the correct frame size, seat height, frame length, and proper working brakes. A bicycle that is too big is difficult to control properly and can result in a bicycle accident.
Make yourself visible and heard. Ensure your bicycle has adequate lights, reflectors, bells, horns or reflective tape.
Before heading out, give your bicycle a once-over check. Check the ABCs…air, brakes, and chain.
Know and follow the rules of the road. Don’t forget, a bicycle is a vehicle and must follow the rules and laws just as a driver of a car would do. This includes leaving enough space between you and other drivers, riding one metre from the curb or from other parked cars, riding in a straight line on the right hand side of the road, obeying all traffic signs, using the proper hand signals , stopping at stop signs and red lights, stopping for buses, stopping for pedestrians at crosswalks etc..
Never, ever ride against traffic. Drivers simply aren’t aware of cyclists riding on the left side of the road.
Watch for road hazards such as puddles, potholes, loose gravel, loose pavement etc…
One of the most common cycling accidents we see as Ottawa personal injury lawyers are bicycle accidents involving right turning vehicles. Always stay behind a vehicle as you get close to the intersection and do not try to pass. Often times the result is that the cyclist gets pinched in and often pinned beneath the vehicle.
There are many valuable resources throughout the Ottawa community and throughout Ontario. for more information on cycling safety visit: City of Ottawa Cycling Safety, Service Ontario, Citizens for Cycling Safety, Kids CAN-BIKE, Ontario Cycling Association to name a few.
Ottawa Bicycle Accident Lawyers
If you have any questions that relate to cycling accidents and personal injury law, feel free to contact any of our Ottawa personal injury lawyers and we would be happen to provide you with the information you need.