Preventing an accident and keeping others safe – cyclists must abide by the rules of the road or face hefty fines.
April is fast approaching, and it’s the time of year when most cyclists take their bikes out of the basement and start cycling outside. Cycling is an excellent form of exercise and an eco-friendly mode of transportation; people of all ages can reap the amazing benefits. The Ontario Highway Traffic Act (HTA) categorizes a bicycle as a vehicle. Therefore, all bicyclists must follow the same road laws as other road users. Accident lawyers see many personal injuries and collisions due to cyclists neglecting their responsibilities on the road. As the snow starts to melt and more cyclists head out, now is a good time to review some of the top road infractions* cyclists face in Ontario.
Wear a helmet!
Wearing a helmet is crucial to ensuring your safety should you get into an accident. By law, anyone under the age of 16 must wear a helmet when riding a bicycle. While the fine may not make the most significant dent in your wallet ($80), life is priceless. Wearing a helmet could save your life and can help prevent devastating injuries that an accident lawyer sees all too commonly. Even if you are over the age of 16, you should always wear a properly fitted helmet.
Driving an unsafe vehicle
When taking your bike out of storage, do an overall safety check before your first ride – it’s the law.
You must ensure that your bicycle has:
- Working breaks (section 64)
- A functioning bell or horn (section 75)
- Lights for when it’s dark or when visibility is poor. The front light must be white, and the rear light must be red. (section 62)
In addition to vehicle safety, as a cyclist, you must have white reflective material on your front and red reflective material on your back (section 62). Accident lawyers see a lot of collisions resulting from poor visibility. Wearing reflective material helps other vehicles identify you on the road when it’s dark out or in inclement weather. Failure to meet any or all of these safety requirements can result in an $85 set fine for each infraction.
Failure to obey traffic signs, and lights
Whether you’re driving a motor vehicle or a bicycle, you must abide by all traffic signs, signals, and lights. Ignoring a stop sign (section 136), riding through a red or amber light (section 144), and failing to yield (section 138) can cause an accident and puts yourself and others in danger. Set fines for disobeying these laws can range from $85-$325.
Contact an accident lawyer if you’re involved in a collision.
Suppose you are a cyclist or driving a motor vehicle, and you’re involved in a collision. In that case, it’s essential to get in touch with an accident lawyer. Laws and provisions aren’t always straightforward. In cases where a collision was not your fault – you have rights and may be entitled to compensation. An accident lawyer can look at your situation, explain everything to you clearly, and advise you on what to do next.
*infractions and set fines are subject to change.