What You Need to Know About Sharing the Road with Cyclists

With winter finally coming to an end, cyclists will soon start appearing across Ontario roadways. This means you’ll be sharing the road with slower-moving bicycles, and you’ll need to understand the laws and how they apply to both you and the cyclists. Before you find yourself in a situation where you need an auto accident lawyer, keep the following tips in mind.

Rules of the Road for Cyclists

The first thing to understand is that a bicyclist has the same right to ride on the road as a car or truck if he or she is following traffic laws. Some of the most important ones to remember are below.

  • Cyclists must obey stoplights and stop signs in the same manner as a vehicle. Cyclists can be ticketed for failing to stop.
  • Cyclists may not ride on sidewalks if they are over the age of 14. They must ride in the road in the same direction as traffic.
  • It’s also important for cyclists to stop when streetcars open their doors. This is for public safety.
  • Cyclists must signal their turns.
  • Cyclists may use left-hand turn lanes to make left turns, just like a car would. They may also travel across the intersection and then cross again once the light changes as if they were pedestrians.
  • Ontario cyclists are now required to properly light their bikes. You’ll need an amber or white light on the front and a red light or reflector on the rear. Remember that this is in addition to other reflective materials.


Things for Drivers and Cyclists to Keep in Mind

Drivers should understand the rights of bicyclists, but they should also understand how their actions can be dangerous to those on bicycles. The following new laws are designed for their protection, so be sure to familiarize yourself with them. Car accident lawyers study these new laws as they’re passed in order to help protect their clients.

For drivers:

  • The act of “dooring”, or opening your car door suddenly without checking for cyclists or other traffic, can net you a fine of up to $1000. Before you swing your door open, peek in the mirror to ensure a cyclist isn’t coming up beside you.
  • Drivers are required by law to give cyclists at least one meter of space between themselves and cyclists when passing. In Ontario back in 2012, 26 cyclists died after drivers collided with them when attempting to pass.


Stay Aware of Your Surroundings

Whether you’re a driver or a cyclist, it’s vital to be aware of everything going on around you to prevent injury or even death. Cyclists are far more prone to injury in a collision than a driver, so it’s important for drivers to give cyclists their space. What’s more, cyclists should remain aware of all oncoming traffic, and they should follow traffic laws for their own safety. Cyclists who fail to follow the rules of the road may be responsible for their own injuries if they are stuck by a vehicle due to their actions, even if they hire a bicycle accident lawyer.

If you’re a cyclist who has been injured in a collision, or if you’re a driver who was involved in a collision because a cyclist failed to follow the rules, HLD lawyers is standing by to help. Call us today and find out how we can help you get the compensation you deserve. We are the best and most experienced bicycle accident lawyers Toronto, and the entire GTA, has to offer.