Cyclists rightfully complain about poor drivers and the dangers they pose to cyclists. Drivers hit three cyclists in 24 hours in Toronto last week. Their bad driving habits are a major reason for these accidents. With bikes and cars both sharing the road, safety is everyone's responsibility. Cyclists play a role too.
Our post this week looks at some of the complexities involved when cyclists are injured in road accidents.
Cyclists must obey the rules of the road too
Cyclists don't need to pass a written or practical test for a licence to ride their bicycles. Most learn how to ride and then begin navigating the roads with cars.
Over time, cyclists may forget the rules of the road too. By being mindful of these rules, they shoulder their duty of care to others using the roads. Doing so is wise, for cyclists may at times be judged partially responsible if they are hit by a vehicle while ignoring the rules of the road.
Suppose a cyclist runs a red light just as a driver, seeing a flashing red countdown on the pedestrian 'walk - don't walk' signal, speeds up to get through the intersection while the light is still green. The driver hits the cyclist and breaks the cyclist's right arm and leg. What if the cyclist was not wearing a helmet? Who is responsible for the accident? Could the severity of the injury have been lessened?
Liability in personal injury cases
In personal injury law, there is a concept called contributory negligence. A cyclist must act as a reasonable person, and not take unreasonable risks when bicycling. If they take unreasonable risks, a person can be held completely or partially responsible for their own injury, even if another person was involved in the accident.
Personal injury law is complex, especially where the question of negligence arises. A cyclist should consult an experienced personal injury lawyer to determine if they have a claim for damages against a driver who has hit the cyclist, and how to successfully pursue that claim through the courts - even if the cyclist's actions led in part to the accident.