With summer around the corner, many of us are preparing to bring out our bikes and enjoy the weather. Although riding our bikes can be an escape from reality, we can’t escape our legal responsibilities both as cyclists and car drivers.
Car drivers are often irritated and frustrated with having to share the road with cyclists and vice versa. However, many individuals are not aware of their legal rights and responsibilities. Here is a quick overview of some legal tips for cyclists and motor vehicle drivers.
Do cyclists have to present their driver’s license if stopped by a police officer? Cyclists do not have to show their driver’s license if they are stopped by a police officer. However, a police officer may ask for your address and name, this information must be provided in accordance to 218 of the Highway Traffic Act in order to avoid a fine in the amount of $85.00
If a cyclist doesn’t wear a helmet and gets hit by a car, can they still pursue legal action? Yes. Even though the cyclist was not wearing a helmet, there are still grounds for a lawsuit in respect to accident benefits. However, the case is likely to take into account the severity of the injury based on the fact that there was no helmet. For instance, if there is a leg injury with no relevance to wearing a helmet then the court is not likely to take into account the absence of a helmet when deciding compensation.
Is it illegal for cyclists to ride through crosswalks/intersections? Yes. Cyclists are required to walk their bike through the crosswalk. A violation of this law can result in an $85 fine under section 140(6) and 144(29) of the Highway Traffic Act.
Are drinking and driving laws the same for cyclists as they are for car drivers? No. Although cyclists will not be criminally charged for riding a bike, cyclists maybe subjected to different charges including being intoxicated in public and careless driving.
Is side by side cycling illegal? The Ontario Traffic Act does not prohibit side by side cycling however cyclists should avoid cycling side by side when it impedes faster vehicles from passing.
Do cyclists have to obey all traffic signs (ie. stop signs and red lights)? Yes. Cyclists are required to signal before turning, stop at stop signs, walk across crosswalks, yield/stop for pedestrians at crosswalks. These are just some of the requirements.
If I have a collision with a car, does the driver have to pay for damages to my bike? Yes. A cyclist can ask for damages occurred in a collision with a car.
Remember the Ontario Highway Traffic Act states cyclists have equal rights on the road so you are entitled to your rights. Make sure you are informed.
If you think you have a legal case, a paralegal can assist you with your matter.
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