Ontario’s Cyclist Rights: Unraveling the Laws that Keep Riders Safe

Cycling on public roadways in Ontario comes with risks, and it’s important for cyclists to be aware of these risks, their responsibilities, and their rights if they get injured. Every year, a significant number of cycling collisions occur, resulting in injuries and fatalities. The leading causes of these accidents involve speeding, distracted driving, aggressive driving, and impaired driving by motor vehicle drivers.

To protect themselves, cyclists should take safety measures such as wearing a properly fitting helmet, using bright or reflective clothing, having operational lights and a bell, following traffic laws, yielding when necessary, being predictable in their maneuvers, maintaining distance from vehicles, using hand signals, avoiding cycling within crosswalks, and checking before turning.
Despite taking precautions, many cyclists still suffer serious injuries due to negligent motor vehicle drivers. In such cases, access to justice is crucial, and our experienced team of lawyers is available to help with bicycle accident injury cases.

In Ontario, the law imposes a “reverse onus” on situations where a cyclist is injured by a motor vehicle on a public roadway. This means that the law presumes the motor vehicle driver is at fault, and the cyclist only needs to prove that the accident occurred and caused their injuries. The burden then shifts to the driver to prove that their negligence did not cause the cyclist’s injuries.

It’s important to note that the reverse onus does not apply to private roadways or property. If a cyclist is injured on private property, they cannot rely on the reverse onus. While the law is in favor of cyclists, it’s essential to understand that claims for damages can be reduced if the cyclist is found to be contributorily negligent. This means that if the cyclist fails to take reasonable steps to protect themselves from injuries caused by another person’s negligence, any awarded damages may be reduced based on the degree of fault between the driver and the cyclist.

A finding of contributory negligence does not relieve the driver of their liability. The reverse onus still applies, and the defendant must prove their lack of negligence or misconduct. Contributory negligence may decrease the damages awarded, but it does not absolve the driver of responsibility.

Having the expertise of Sharma Law’s team in personal injury law is crucial to ensure that your injuries and losses are strongly advocated for. If you or a loved one is a victim of a hit-and-run accident, please reach out to Sharma Law.

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