Once you have received any necessary medical treatment on the scene of a bicycle collision, be sure to get information from the officers on how to obtain a copy of their reports. In the event of a hit and run, try to get any identifying information you can. A license plate number is most helpful as the actions you take immediately following a bicycle collision are critical to protecting your rights. Take photos of the scene yourself to ensure it is fully documented. You should also take pictures of your injuries and any damage done to your bike if you are able.
As a personal injury lawyer, I am frequently asked: What is the law in Ontario when someone riding a bike gets hit by a car?
Although a bicycle is not a motor vehicle, a cyclist will still have legal rights and benefits following an accident with an automobile. If you are injured in a bicycle accident in Ontario involving a car or truck, you can receive Ontario no-fault auto accident benefits. You can also advance a claim against the owner/driver of the vehicle that hit you in order to recover your losses and damages.
A no-fault claim (also known as accident benefits claim) is between the bike accident victim and the auto insurance company. It would be the responsibility of the auto insurance company to cover your benefits, including medical and rehabilitation expenses, lost wages, and attendant care. Even if you did not have auto insurance coverage at the time of the accident, you will be able to claim for no- fault benefits. The insurance policy responsible for these benefits will depend on the circumstances, and be determined based on priority rules.
In addition, the bike accident victim can also bring a tort claim against the driver and owner of the vehicle that caused the accident. The insurance company for the other vehicle will defend and pay the claim. The damages available in a tort claim following a bike accident include pain and suffering as well as economic losses and expenses.
Delay Those Repairs!
While you may be tempted to get your bike repaired and in riding shape as soon as possible, it may be best to delay repairs until you have spoken to a personal injury lawyer. Repairing your bike before the insurance adjuster has had a chance to examine the damage may compromise your right to recovery. Many insurers will not agree to pay for the damage until they have not had the opportunity to inspect the bike themselves, so it is critical that you do not do repairs until your claim has been fully processed.
Instead of rushing to get repairs, document the damage in as many ways as possible. Take photographs and videos and have local repair shops provide estimates for repairing the damage. It is also important that you do nothing to further damage your bike. Do not ride it or leave it outdoors until the damage has been fully evaluated. If the condition of your bike worsens after the collision due to your actions, you may compromise your claim.
Bicyclists are out on our roads more than ever and if you are a cyclist, here are some tips for staying safe on your bicycle.
- Always wear a helmet. Both your bike and your safety equipment should be a good fit for you. Make sure that children have helmets which are properly fit to their head sizes. A helmet is the single most effective way to prevent head injury resulting from a bicycle crash.
- Make sure your bicycle and equipment are in good working condition before riding especially if you had your bicycle stored away for the winter. Check the brakes and chain. Tires should be fully inflated and free of debris and ensure the reflectors and lights are working properly for nighttime cycling.
- See and be seen! Drivers are not always expecting to see bicycles on the roadway. Wearing light- colored clothing or reflective devices (such as wristbands or safety vests) help drivers see you. Be particularly cautious when cycling at night.
- Cyclists should also ride defensively: never assume that a car will yield the right of way to you and always be aware of your surroundings. You should also avoid unpredictable movements, as this makes it even more difficult for cars to avoid you. Part of sharing the road with drivers and other cyclists means alerting them to your turns. Make sure cars see you by following the local traffic laws—stop at lights, stop behind cars (don’t pull beside them into blind spots), and always utilize your hand signals for left and right hand turns. Signal your movement whenever possible.
- Be cautious in parking lots or when passing parked cars along the street. Doors can open unexpectedly, and drivers in parking lots have diverted their attention to the task of parking. Leave plenty of space between your bike and a parked vehicle. Use extra caution whenever a nearby vehicle is backing up.
Riding defensively can only get you so far. At some point you may be at the mercy of drivers on the road. Take extra precautions while biking in traffic, crossing the street, and assume motorists turning right can’t see you. Wait until they are aware of your presence. Drivers are more distracted than ever, which means it is a bigger risk to those who share the road with them.
The immediate aftermath of any traffic collision is confusing, chaotic, and overwhelming. By knowing what to do, you can keep control of the situation, ensure your recovery and protect your legal interests by hiring a personal injury lawyer.
If you have been seriously injured in a bicycle accident, Iacobelli Law Firm understands how difficult and life-changing it can be for you and your family. We are a dedicated Ontario Personal Injury Law Firm that provides compassionate and competent legal counsel for the injured and we offer a FREE Consultation so please feel free to call us at 1-866-234-6093. We are honored to serve our clients and our community.
Andrew Iacobelli is an experienced personal injury lawyer who established Iacobelli Law Firm with offices located in Ontario, Canada and Florida, U.S.A. Andrew restricts his practice to the representation of personal injury victims in claims involving serious injuries and wrongful death. Andrew is the author of "Are You a Canadian Injured in the United States? Claim the Damages and Insurance Coverage the Right Way".