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.
Cycling Safety Tips
I was out visiting a client in Rockland today and as I was driving around Rockland, I couldn’t help but notice how many people were out on their bicycles . That’s great for so, so many reasons. We are all excited for spring to arrive and with spring comes more pedestrians, cyclist, motorcycles, ATV etc. I wanted to take a moment and remind everyone of a few things you can do to help keep yourself and your children safe.
The Ottawa Police have a great website that offers the following bicycle accident safety tips:
-Make sure your helmet is on and fits properly.
-Your bicycle helmet should be snug and not move around.
-Your bicycle helmet should sit two finger-widths above your brows.
-The straps of your helmet should form a V below and around both ears.
-You should not be able to get more than 2 fingers between the chin strap and your chin.
-Ottawa and Ontario cyclists must wear a helmet by law if they are under 18 years of age.
-Do not wear a hat under a helmet. This is not safe.
-Helmets only reduce personal injuries, they do not prevent accidents from happening.
-Do not use a helmet that has already been in an accident.
-All bicycle helmets need to be CSA, CPSC, Snell B-95, or a N-94 certification sticker.
-Remember that motorists and cyclists share the roadways.
-Cyclists must also follow the rules of the road. The Ontario Highway Traffic Act, the Ottawa Traffic and Ottawa Parking Bylaw state that cyclists:
-Stop at all stop signs and stop at red lights
– Properly signal any changes in lanes.
-Ottawa cyclists must remain on the right side of the road
-Do not ride your bicycle on sidewalks.
-Have a bell, gong, or horn on your bicycle.
-If you are riding at night, make sure your bicycle is well lit.
Please be safe out there. Ottawa has had far too many tragic bicycle accidents and cyclists injured and we all need to obey the rules of the road. Have a great and happy spring on your bicycle Ottawa !
Have you been injured in an Ottawa bicycle accident? You need to know this..
If you are a cyclist and become injured as the result of a bicycle accident, you are entitled to accident benefits from the insurance company of the vehicle that hit you or your own insurance company f you have one. If you have any questions that relate to the rights of cyclists and compensation , please do not hesitate to contact any of our Ottawa bicycle accident lawyers. We offer free consultations and can travel to you.
Ottawa Bicycle Accident Lawyer David Hollingsworth.. I recently found a great website : Citizens for Safe Cycling . It’s a website dedicated to Ottawa cyclists. It is filled with all sorts of information that relate to Ottawa bicycle safety, events for Ottawa cyclists and Ottawa cycling news and projects. One of the articles on the site dealt with cyclists getting “doored”. The following are tips I found on this site for both Ottawa drivers and Ottawa cyclists on avoiding a cycling accident.
One of the safest ways to avoid an accident is to ride your bicycle at least one metre away from other vehicles. That is the best way to prevent getting injured by having a door open in your face. A car door can spring open in a second. If a cyclist is passing by at that very moment, it’s almost impossible avoiding being hit by the door, resulting in you. This type of bicycle accident is far to common in Ottawa and a major cause of downtown cycling accidents. These cycling accidents can be avoided.
Ottawa drivers and Ottawa cycling accidents:
Everyone is responsible on the road. As a driver, you are responsible for checking for oncoming traffic. This includes cyclists. They are much smaller than a car and therefore harder to see; however, before opening your car door, you must thoroughly check for any oncoming traffic. If you fail to do so and it results in an accident, you will be charged under section 165 of the Highway Traffic Act.
Ottawa cyclists and Ottawa cycling accidents:
The best way to avoid a cycling accident is to remain out of the door zone which about one metre away from a car. Also cyclist should avoid passing on the right if there’s not enough space to pass. Cyclist should always use extra space in the lane in order to stay away from the cars, even if it means that you hold up traffic or force them to pass you outside of the lane. If you need to move left to do this, remember to always signal and shoulder check first.
It’s practically impossible for cyclists to see ahead of time whether a vehicle door is going to open. Tinted windows and high headrests make it extremely difficult to see from behind if a car is occupied, and a door could fly open at any given moment.
Cycling is such a great activity and means of transportation around Ottawa. Let’s all work to gether to reduce the number of Ottawa cycling accidents and deaths related to cycling accidents this spring and summer. Happy and safe cycling Ottawa !
I have 3 very young children who are constantly out on their bicycles. Thankfully we have instilled in them to always wear a helmet. As an Ontario personal injury lawyer, I meet regularly with Ottawa cycling accident victims who have suffered serious personal injuries such as a head injury, brain injury and I often meet with family members who have lost a family member, because he or she was hit while riding a bicycle and died. It’s hard to remember but we all need to be reminded that a bicycle is a motor vehicle and that cyclists need to follow the same rules as other motor vehicle. As an Ottawa bicycle accident lawyer, I feel this is especially important to teach our kids at a young age. For now, yes they are always close by on their bicycles, but before we know it,they will be biking to school, to a friend’s house,to the pool and we won’t be there to remind of the rules of cycling safety. Let’s teach them now !!
As adults, we take for granted that our kids know how traffic works and what safety signs mean. Practice, review and years of experience with adult supervision will help reinforce these lessons. Most importantly, lead by example. I’m constantly amazed and what my children do and say and realize that they are copying me and what I do and say. Set a good example by wearing bike helmets themselves and practicing safe cycling skills. Remember all bicycle helmets should be CSA CPSC or Snell certified and fit properly. All cyclists under 18 must wear a helmet.
As a parent, we all struggle with figuring out when our child is ready. When are they ready to bike to school without an adult? Your child wants to ride a bicycle to school and naturally you worry. Maybe they will need to cross a busy street and maybe they won’t. What to do? You need to feel at ease with your decision. Keep in mind that most kids under the age of 9 will not have the skills to bicycle safely without supervision.
The following may help you make the decision:
- Can your child cycle well enough to:
- check over their shoulder while cycling in a straight line ?
- quickly and confidently apply brakes to stop ?
- ride with one hand while displaying safety hand signals ?the ability to know the speed of other vehicles ?
- Avoiding a bicycle accident: Can your child?
- know their right from left ?
- the ability to avoid distractions ?
- lock up the bicycle on their own ?
Avoiding an Ottawa cycling accident: Does your child understand:
- what yield means ?
- what “right of way” means ?
- what road signs mean and where to look for them ?
Avoiding an Ottawa cycling accident : Cycling with an infant:
As an Ottawa bicycle accident lawyer, I would advise against cycling with infants who do not have sufficient neck strength to hold their heads up while wearing a helmet . It is best to wait until your infant is able to sit up on their own and can wear a properly fitted certified bicycle helmet.
Avoiding an Ottawa cycling accident : Cycling with a toddler:
As an Ottawa bicycle accident lawyer, in my opinion, toddlers are safest on a bicycle when they are in a bicycle trailer or in a seat mounted to a bicycle frame. Again, please make sure your toddler is wearing an approved and properly fitted bicycle helmet and that your trailer or seat is firmly attached to the bicycle.
Avoiding an Ottawa cycling accident : Cycling with a bike trailer:
Bicycle trailers offer a more stable and secure environment for your toddler. Not to mention that extra space can be valuable for bringing along toys, snacks, extra clothing or other supplies; which can extend the life of your bike ride and possibly avoid a melt-down. The dangers with bike trailers are that they are less visible and your child is farther away. For safety, it is recommended that you attach a bright coloured safety flag to the trailer for greater visibility, and if possible, ride with another adult behind the trailer.
Avoiding an Ottawa cycling accident : Cycling with a rear-mounted seat :
Bicycles equipped with rear-mounted seats allow you to keep your child close to you. However, they also shift the centre of gravity, which may make cycling challenging. It is recommended that you first practice riding with a weight comparable to the child’s in the seat. It is also important to make sure your seat has a high back, a shoulder and lap harness, and foot guards to protect feet from the spokes.
Avoiding an Ottawa cycling accident : Cycling with a front-mounted seat:
There are many types of front-mounted bicycle seats. As an Ottawa Bicycle accident lawyer, I feel that bicycle seats mounted to the handlebars should be avoided, as they may affect steering control. Other front-mounted seats that attach to both the seat and handlebar may be more stable and keep your child in front of you. This would allow you to keep an eye on your child, as well as the road.
Avoiding an Ottawa cycling accident : Cycling with a bike-trailer:
Young children can ride with an adult using a trailer-bike. The bike trailer attaches to the seat post and allows an adult bicycle to become a tandem bike for kids. It is especially useful for longer trips where young children may get tired pedaling on their own.
All this to say, we need to use common sense and exercise absolute caution when cycling. There are many Ottawa bicycle accidents daily and sadly some involve children and are very serious. Cycling is an amazing activity to do with children, which is why it is so important at a young age to teach them right , as we all want our children to enjoy a long life of cycling. Be safe and happy cycling Ottawa.
Ottawa Accident Lawyer David Hollingsworth , Personal Injury Lawyers . Good news for Ottawa cyclists….
Improve Safety in Ottawa: Reducing bicycle accidents, cycling accidents
Personal injuries occur everyday that could be prevented, including injuries to innocent bicyclists who would be more safe on dedicated bicycle paths in the City of Ottawa. I am happy to share that The City of Ottawa intends to continue development of some key sections of the bicycle network in our city. The NCC may contribute to the initiative with five projects under consideration for 2011, which would help to link current pathways and to set up new pathways with improved access to key institutions, transit stations and communities. The Ottawa Citizen reports that this could cost in the realm of $7.7 million. Ottawa Council approved the long-range Ottawa Cycling Plan in 2008. According to the Ottawa Citizen, The Plan calls for 1,200 new km of bike lanes, multi-use pathways and bike-friendly paved shoulders over 20 years. Council also approved a $26 million spending plan over five years for the first phase of the project, which includes closing some of the gaps. The proposed pathways are designated in the cycling plan as future off-road cycling routes, and in a 2006 report, the NCC referred to four of them as projects to be constructed within 10 years, the staff report says.
The Ottawa Citizen notes that although the city hasn’t made a formal request, the NCC is aware of the staff report’s recommendations and “shares the city’s objectives of improving the pathway network,” said NCC spokesman Jean Wolff. Mona Abouhenidy, the city’s program manager of transportation strategic planning, said the NCC has so far been supportive of making the capital region more cycling-friendly, so she’s hopeful a cost-sharing agreement can be worked out.
Will this lower the rate of Ottawa cycling accidents?
Ottawa City staff are also exploring what other projects could be proposed for next year that wouldn’t involve the NCC. “The ultimate objective is to create better and safer facilities for cyclists, so it becomes a more attractive mode of transportation,” Abouhenidy said. Between 2000 and 2009, the city added about 160 kilometres of new bike routes to its network. Including projects already underway in 2010, the city will have about 560 kilometres of the routes by the end of the year, Abouhenidy said.
Planners look at what cycling-friendly facilities can be added at the same time as other projects such as road reconstructions are done, she said. And city policies call for pedestrian and cycling facilities to be included on new and reconstructed roads. But it’s more of a challenge to link bike routes in older communities, where rights-of-way are limited and there are competing interests among drivers, cyclists and pedestrians, Abouhenidy said. And, of course, finding the money is always a challenge.
The Ottawa Citizen reports that city councilors such as Clive Doucet (Capital), Diane Holmes (Somerset), Christine Leadman (Kitchissippi), Maria McRae (River) and Rainer Bloess (Innes) were consulted for the staff report because the proposed work takes place in their wards, and all said they support filling the gaps. All but one of the proposed paths are within seven kilometers of Parliament Hill, a distance that takes about 20 minutes cycling at a moderate pace, the report says. They all connect to an off-road route or a street that has a bike lane.
If approved by the transportation committee, the proposal would go before council on Aug. 25. Meanwhile, the city is also conducting a cycling safety study, and on its website is asking for input on dangerous areas. Staff will then analyze up to 20 sites deemed to be well-used but “difficult.” It’s expected the study will be finished by the end of the year, “but an on-going program will be developed based on many of the recommendations made within this project,” according to the city.
The cycling plan will be conducive to a more “green” lifestyle contributing to less of an ecological footprint on our environment and notably, I hope will produce more safety for everyone on the roads, so that we can prevent personal injury and harm form occurring to you and your loved ones.
For more information related to cycling accidents and compensation, visit www.ottawainjury.ca/cycling-accidents/
We would love to hear whay you think. Let us know.
A new poll in Ottawa seems to suggest that Ottawa citizens would be interested in the prospect of increased bicycle culture in Ottawa. More Ottawa citizens would cycle to work if the paths were made safer to use, and the bicycle culture of Ottawa promoted generally, including more dedicated bicycle paths, accommodation by transit facilities, and improved bicycle storage areas. Each year, countless deaths and serious injuries occur do to bicycle injuries. These tragic rates of injury, combined with the results from this new study, seem to suggest that we could do more in terms of bicycle reform and culture in Ottawa to help prevent lives and save innocent victims from getting hurt each year on our city streets and pathways in Ottawa.
Some controversy exists between experts regarding if separate bicycle lanes actually reduce accidents and personal injury. One perspective argues that there’s no basis to conclude that it is not safe to cycle on the streets of Ottawa. Only a few high-profile accidents, this side argues, make it appear to Ottawa residents that bicycle culture is not currently conducive to high levels of safety. Currently, about 31 % of Ottawa poll participants state that they would be more likely to bike to work or school if roads were made safer for cyclists.
According to the 2001 Statistics Canada Census data, about 2 % of employed people in Ottawa bike to work. Thus, it is clear that there is a strong basis of bicycle culture already well established, and a willingness to cycle to work in general by the people of Ottawa. 82 % of poll participants felt that the city should do all it can do to reduce Ottawa cycling accidents. At the same time, 23 % of respondents said they would not bicycle to work under any circumstances. Other Ottawa residents said they would consider the prospect of cycling to work if it were made easier to take bikes on public transit. Another 5 % wanted more secure places to lock up their bikes. In terms of gender disparity, more men than women seem amiable to bicycling to work (39 % vs. 19%, respectively).
Ottawa Bicycle Accident Lawyer
With spring weather here many Ottawa bicyclists are facing a danger that they literally may not see coming. One of the most common Ottawa accidents to a bicyclist occurs when a car door is opened in the path of a bicyclist. “Dooring ” accidents are far too common. People who are exiting a parked car must look for bicyclists every time they exit. As drivers, it is very easy to forget that cyclist may be passing you on the left if you are parked, so please be careful– check over your shoulder and check in your mirrors every time you open your door.
Many cyclists are unaware of their rights and options when it comes to compensation. Many cyclists believe that because they do not themselves have an insurance policy because they do not own a vehicle, then they are not entitled to Ontario accident benefits. This is simply incorrect. There are several options for maximum compensation for cyclists. Firstly , if the accident involves a motor vehicle, then the insurance company of the driver can provide compensation and accident benefits to the injured party. There are also other options depending on the nature of the accident. Regardless, it is always best for anyone involved in a cycling accident, contact an experienced bicycle accident lawyer and learn of their options. Most cycling accident lawyers will offer a free consultation and will come to your place of convalescence.
David Hollingsworth is an Ottawa personal injury lawyer, concerned about Ottawa bicycle safety. If you or a loved one has suffered a personal injury as a bicyclist, contact our Ottawa personal injury law firm and speak to one of our lawyers who serve throughout Eastern Ontario at 613 -978-9549 or visit www.ottawainjury.ca.