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Dangerous Roads: Cycling Safety Tips

Written By: Danielle Bartlett, Personal Injury Lawyer

Cyclist drives on the bike path past the traffic jam - First-person view of cyclist/ motion blur stock photo

There has been an upward trend of severe bike-car collisions over the last couple of months in Ottawa. Many cycling advocates blame this recent string of severe and sometimes fatal bike-car collisions as a result of the City’s infrastructure and design. These dangerous roads, coupled with the easing of COVID-19 restrictions and only half the summer behind us, the streets and crosswalks are only getting busier as we all get back into our “regular” routines. 

Especially for cyclists, this may mean increased traffic on roads that lack designated bike lanes or cycling traffic signals. In this blog post, I will outline some cycling safety tips to help and avoid serious injuries while riding downtown Ottawa.

When there are no specific bike lanes, drivers and cyclists should remember that regular traffic rules apply. As a helpful reminder, below are the most common challenges that cyclists face, and the best ways to avoid them.

The Wrong Turn

Most car accidents don’t occur from behind or in front of cyclists. They occur when a car is attempting to pass someone on a bike, according to the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA). This includes drivers overtaking cyclists as they make right or left turns, or to merge back into the same lane.

CAA reminds us that cyclists require a metre of space when motor vehicles are attempting to pass them on the road. While drivers should make sure they allow for proper space when passing, cyclists should be cautious and slow down for drivers who may have misgauged a merge.

Wearing a Helmet

Following safety tips do not always mean that you will avoid a collision. It’s essential to make sure you are wearing the right protective gear when you are knocked off your bicycle while in motion. There are different types of protective gear you can wear, such as knee pads, elbow pads, and even gloves to improve grip strength, but it’s the helmet that is the most important. 

According to the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, helmets are mandatory by law for those 18 years of age and younger. However, they are not mandatory for adults. The site outlines the safety benefits of wearing helmets at any age, such as reducing the risks of brain injuries, concussions, and other catastrophic injuries.

On the Road to Recovery

Despite the best of intentions, cycling accidents do happen. It’s best to speak with a personal injury lawyer to determine what you may be entitled to following a collision with a vehicle. At Nicholson Gluckstein, our team of compassionate personal injury lawyers in Ottawa are here to help get you on the road to recovery. For more information about how Nicholson Gluckstein Lawyers can help, please contact us or email me at bartlett@gluckstein.com.

Resources

http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/safety/bicycle-safety.shtml
https://ottawa.ctvnews.ca/cyclists-call-for-better-bike-infrastructure-on-ottawa-roads-1.4989836
https://www.caa.ca/bike/

Photo Credit: Istock by Getty Images