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4 Things About Bike-Car Accidents Cyclists Need to Know

DBM Law Blog

Being struck by a car is something most cyclists fear, for obvious reasons. According to ICBC’s data for the years 2009 to 2013 , cycling accidents happen with relative frequency at certain intersections across Metro Vancouver. In Coquitlam, the crossroads at Lougheed Highway and Westwood Street is a particularly notorious spot.
But the fact is bike-car accidents can happen at any intersection, or even in the middle of a stretch of roadway. Thankfully for most cyclists, a car-bicycle accident is something they will never have to deal with. Nevertheless, being informed about how the British Columbia courts view them is important for anyone who takes to the road on two wheels.
In particular, it is important to know how a personal injury claim in a bike-car accident can be incredibly different from a pedestrian-car accident, despite similar imbalances between them. If you have been involved in a bike-car accident, you can contact DBM’s Coquitlam personal injury lawyers here.
1. Cyclists can be held at fault for bike-car accidents
The most important fact for cyclists to know is that they can be held at fault, which is rarely the case for pedestrians. That is, even though a bicycle and a motor vehicle are imbalanced in speed, weight, and power, either can be considered the at fault “vehicle.”
This means if you run a red light and are struck by a vehicle, you will be unable to claim personal injury damages from the driver who hit you.
2. Cyclists aren’t required to be insured
Although both bicycles and cars are considered vehicles on the road and are subject to the same rights and duties, there is a major difference between their usage of the road system. Namely, drivers are required to hold insurance while cyclists are not.
Some people’s bicycles may be insured as part of their home or renters insurance, under which you could claim for damages to your bike in an accident where you are at fault. However, this won’t extend to any personal injury you may suffer.
3. Crosswalks aren’t safe zones for cyclists
Any pedestrian in a crosswalk, whether marked or unmarked, has right of way—but this is not the case for cyclists. According to the Motor Vehicle Act, cyclists are not to use a crosswalk at all unless explicitly instructed to do so by a sign. This means if you are struck in a crosswalk while on your bike, you will most likely be found to be partly at fault.
4. Cyclists must protect their own safety
When there are bike-motor vehicle accidents, the actions of both the rider and the driver are taken into account. Even if cases where the driver is found to be mainly at fault, the actions of the cyclist, if found to be negligent in any way, can affect the amount of damages received.
This “contributory negligence” occurs when the cyclist’s actions contributed to the accident happening or made the accident worse. This could include, for example, if the cyclist was distracted while riding, or if the cyclist failed to safely evade an obstacle, such as a pylon, that contributed to the accident occurred.
For more information on personal injury law, contact us here.


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