It’s finally warming up and you’re ready to get out in the fresh air. With Bike to Work Day right around the corner (May 28th) kicking off Bike Month, it’s important to know your rights as a cyclist in case of an accident.
What is the Highway Traffic Act’s Definition?
It’s important to take note what the Highway Traffic Act says about cycling. In some ways, cyclists are treated like motor vehicle drivers and in other parts they are not. Personal injury lawyers in Cornwall understand that this can be confusing.
First, you must know what a bicycle is and what it is not. According to the traffic act’s definition, a bicycle has one, two, or three wheels. This means that both a tricycle and a unicycle fall within the definition of bicycle in Ontario. It has handlebars and pedals, but not a motor. Electric bicycles, scooters, and mopeds have their own set of rules.
According to the Highway Traffic Act, your bicycle is considered a vehicle. Under that premise, a cyclist has the same responsibilities as any other driver on the road and must obey all traffic laws.
Unfortunately, a cyclist sharing the road with large, heavy motor vehicles is much more vulnerable in the case of an accident even while wearing appropriate safety gear. Yet most cyclists don’t carry insurance. So what happens when a cyclist gets injured in an accident?
How is a Cyclist Protected?
The good news is that a cyclist is afforded protection when he or she is involved in an accident. Injured cyclists have options when seeking compensation after an injury. Although each accident is unique, a cyclist has the opportunity to seek benefits from:
● Their own car insurance
● The insurance of the driver who was involved in the accident
● The government’s motor vehicle accident claims fund
● A claim against the driver
An insurance claim can be made for benefits for medical care and expenses, rehabilitation, any lost income, or attendant care. In most cases, the cyclist’s own car insurance will pay these benefits. If the cyclist doesn’t have their own insurance policy, any policy in which they are listed as a driver would be the responsible insurance. In the case where the cyclist isn’t listed as a driver on another policy, then the policy belonging to a spouse or the policy of whoever the cyclist is dependent on would be responsible. Finally, in the case of an at-fault driver, their insurance would be required to fund the benefits.
A Claim Against a Driver
A claim for compensation can be brought against the driver as well. When it comes to a case of car vs. bicycle, it is the responsibility of the driver to prove the accident was not their fault. With the driver having this responsibility after an accident, the cyclist is at a significant advantage.
Call a Professional
If you have been injured in an accident as a cyclist, it is to your benefit to contact a Cornwall injury lawyer to understand your legal rights to compensation. Call the legal team at A M Injury Law for a free consultation.