June is bike month in Edmonton and we are encouraged to enjoy biking to work and other forms of bicycle-inspired exercise. Here in Alberta, we all look forward to the summer months and getting outside, many of us getting out on our bicycles the minute the weather warms up. But as more of us get on the roadways, we also see more collisions involving riders and motorists.
The Financial and Physical Costs
These accidents have extremely serious consequences for a rider in terms of financial and physical costs. As Edmonton injury lawyers, we have seen accidents take a great toll on riders and their families. As a rider, it’s important to know your legal responsibilities before you head out this season.
Bicycle Vs. Automobile
If you consider the scenario of a collision between a motor vehicle and a bicycle rider, it is obvious that a 1.5 ton vehicle colliding with a bicycle can have catastrophic consequences. The cyclist often suffers life-altering injuries and can require months or years of medical care and rehabilitation.
Typically, when an accident arises with two vehicles, an injured party has to prove that a defendant was negligent and caused their injury to receive damages. However, when it comes to bicycles and motorists, the law is a bit different. When a motorist hits a cyclist, the law will presume that the motorist is the negligent party unless they can prove that the cyclist contributed to the accident. This is called reverse onus.
There are some cases, however, where the cyclist failed to take reasonable precautions for their own safety. In these cases, their damages are reduced by the percentage by which they contributed to the accident.
Contributory Negligence and Bicycle Safety
When it comes to contributory negligence, the fault of both parties will be considered in the dispensation of financial awards. If the bicyclist is found partially at fault, the damages will be reduced accordingly. So what factors will be considered as contributing “fault” attributed to a cyclist?
● Were you wearing a helmet that would have prevented or lessened a head injury?
● Were you wearing headphones that may have made you incapable of hearing traffic and being aware of your surroundings?
● Were you properly following the rules of the road for cyclists?
● Were you riding on a sidewalk prior to entering the roadway?
● Were you riding through or on a crosswalk at the time of the collision?
● Did you take care to check traffic before entering a crosswalk or intersection?
● What time of day was the collision and what were the weather conditions? Did you take appropriate measures to ensure that motorists could see you?
Get Professional Advice
If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, you owe it to yourself to speak with a skilled personal injury lawyer in Edmonton. Each case will have its own unique facts that can have an impact on the outcome of a claim. Call the team at BPCAB Law for a free case evaluation.