How to Prevent Bicycle Accident Injuries
Cycling is becoming more popular both as a method of transportation and for recreation. However, cycling does come with the risk of injury. Statistics Canada has released statistics that an average of 74 deaths per year in Canada are caused by bicycle accidents, and 73% of those accidents are caused by a collision with a motor vehicle. Cycling accidents also account for an average of 3,690 hospitalizations per year across the country.
If you or someone you love have been injured in a bicycle accident and would like to know what compensation might be available to you, contact our Richmond Hill personal injury lawyers today.
Statistics indicate that men are far more likely to be injured in a bicycle accident than women. At least one study suggests this is attributed to the fact that women are more likely to choose not to bike on what they consider to be an unsafe route.
While many municipalities are working towards designing bike routes that lower risks by separating cyclists from traffic, there are some things you can do to protect yourself and your family.
Have the Right Gear
Wearing a helmet every time you ride your bike is the easiest way to prevent serious bicycle injuries. In Ontario, every cyclist under the age of 18 is legally required to wear a helmet. Children must also wear a helmet if they are riding in a bicycle carrier or a trailer that is pulled by a bicycle.
Just because you are over the age of 18 does not mean you should stop wearing a helmet. On average, the cyclist was wearing a helmet in only 13% of cycling fatalities.
All bicycles are required by law to have the following safety equipment:
- A bell or horn
- Lights and reflectors (lights are required if you are biking at night; white on the front of the bike and red on the back)
- Reflective tape on the forks (white on the front, red on the back).
Having the right bike for your purpose and a bike that fits you properly is also important to prevent accidents. A bike that is safe on city streets and paved paths may not be sufficiently safe on rocky trails. Those biking on more dangerous terrain frequently choose to wear additional protective gear, such as gloves, knee and shin pads. Proper gear may help to prevent orthopedic injuries, concussions, and more.
Follow the Rules
In Ontario, a bicycle is considered a vehicle. Cyclists are required to follow the traffic safety laws just like drivers.
Statistics Canada has estimated that in as many as one third of accidents resulting in a cycling fatality, the rules of the road may not have been followed. The first step to following the road safety rules is knowing them.
Some rules you should know include:
- Where you can and cannot cycle (cyclists are not permitted on controlled access highways, within a crosswalk or pedestrian crossings or on sidewalks)
- Know the proper hand signals to use to signal your intended movements to drivers and other cyclists
- Stay to the right as much as possible
- Obey traffic signals such as stop and yield signs and traffic lights.
Contact Our Richmond Hill Personal Injury Lawyers Today
While knowing how to prevent bicycle injuries is important, should you or a family member suffer a serious injury in a bicycle accident, our Richmond Hill personal injury lawyers may be able to help. Contact us for more information, and to schedule a consultation.
* Please note that the information in this article is not intended as legal advice, but rather as a general overview on the subject of personal injury law. If you are seeking legal advice, please consult with a lawyer.