Each year in British Columbia there are 1,400 crashes where at least one cyclist is involved. A startling fact is that each year almost 1,000 of those 1,400 crashes occur in the Lower Mainland. Vancouver’s mild climate, densely populated downtown area, and extensive network of bicycle lanes brings cyclists out in greater numbers and for a longer cycling season than in the rest of the province. As such, accident lawyers in Vancouver are aware of the increased concern for cyclist and motor vehicle accidents.
The Bronson Jones & Company LLP team of accident lawyers in Vancouver have expertise representing injured cyclists and wanted to highlight three areas of risk for crashes between a cyclist and a motor vehicle:
“Doorings” are the most common type of cycling collision in Vancouver, representing approximately 15.2% of all reported cycling collisions. Vancouver accident lawyers often see serious personal injury caused by dooring, which occurs when a cyclist is struck by the door of a parked motor vehicle, typically on the driver’s side. Despite how commonly doorings occur, many people are not aware of this danger and do not realize that British Columbia law prohibits drivers from opening doors into a traffic lane unless it is safe to do so. The fine in British Columbia for dooring is $81 plus two driver penalty points.
2. Distracted driving and failing to yield the right-of-way
The top two contributing factors police attribute to drivers in car crashes involving cyclists are distracted driving and failing to yield the right-of-way. The risk of a crash is particularly high at intersections and when a motor vehicle is entering or exiting an alleyway, parking lot, or driveway; as the cyclist proceeds straight ahead, a motor vehicle may not be watching for cyclists or may fail to yield when pulling in or out of these locations. It is important to note that distracted driving and failing to yield the right-of-way cuts both ways – there is an obligation on both cyclists and motor vehicle drivers to be on the lookout for other users of the road and to yield the right-of-way where necessary.
3. Sidewalk cycling
It is against the law to ride on sidewalks in Vancouver. Yet many cyclists ride on the sidewalk, perhaps because they believe that the sidewalk is safer than the road. In fact, several studies indicate that the opposite is true: cyclists on sidewalks may face a far greater collision risk than cyclists on the road. The problem with sidewalk cycling arises at the same “danger zones” we discussed above (intersections and entrances to alleyways, driveways, and parking lots), where sidewalk cyclists surprise motorists and pedestrians by appearing from unexpected directions, and usually at a much greater speed than a pedestrian.
Vancouver accident lawyers’ increased concern for serious cyclist injury
Cyclists are particularly vulnerable to significant injury or death when involved in a collision with a motor vehicle. Even low speed collisions cause serious injury as cyclists do not have the protection of a vehicle frame, seatbelts, or airbags.
Cyclists injured in a collision with a motor vehicle may have a claim for ICBC Part 7 Benefits and a claim for compensation from the vehicle driver. Often vehicle drivers are found responsible when a collision with a cyclist occurs. However, a cyclist may also share responsibility if he or she was not following the rules of the road (for example, by cycling on the sidewalk). In this regard, it is important to note that cyclists have the same rights and duties as a driver of a motor vehicle. The circumstances of the accident will determine whether the vehicle driver’s negligence caused the cyclist’s injuries and whether the cyclist contributed to the accident.
Vancouver accident lawyers with experience representing injured cyclists
If you are a cyclist who has been injured in a collision with a motor vehicle, protect your interests and maximize your claim for compensation by contacting a Vancouver accident lawyer at Bronson Jones & Company LLP with expertise in bicycle crashes. If you are not in Vancouver, accident lawyers with expertise in bicycle crashes are available at all of our 13 offices in the Lower Mainland. Contact us at 1-855-852-5100 (toll free, 24 hours) to discuss your claim.