With all the good weather we have been having lately, as motorists it is important to be aware of cyclists on the road. The Nova Scotia Motor Vehicle Act makes it clear that cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists in order to prevent accidents. For example, both are required to drive on the right side of the road and both are required to drive single file, except when passing. Both motorists and cyclists are required to use signals when making turns.
The motorist has a duty to be aware of cyclists and to share the road. Motorists are required to leave at least one metre (three feet) of space when passing a cyclist. It is also important for motorists to be aware of the speed of the bicycle. Often motorists misjudge the speed a cyclist is traveling and this mistake can lead to collisions.
As for cyclists, the law requires that a helmet be worn at all times. Your helmet should be snug and be low on the forehead. The chin strap should be tight enough to allow only one finger between it and your chin. Lights and reflectors are also essential, particularly when travelling at night. A horn or bell can be used to warn pedestrians and other vehicles that you are approaching.
The Bicycle NS website lists the following “Rules of the Road for People Riding Bicycles”:
- Cyclists of all ages must wear a helmet.
- Every bicycle must be equipped with a bell or horn.
- When riding between 30 minutes before sunset (dusk, not dark) and 30 minutes after sunrise, you must have a front white light and a rear red light or rear red reflector.
- Just like people driving motor vehicles, people riding bicycles must signal their intention to turn and make lane changes.
- Cyclists must ride on the right hand side of the road, with the flow of traffic, and as near as practicable to the road edge (roughly one metre from the road edge depending on speed of traffic, road edge/width, and destination).
- Cyclists may take the full lane if going through a roundabout, making a left turn, or otherwise feel that they need to do so for their safety. Ride in a straight predictable path, do not weave around parked cars, stay one metre away from parked cars to avoid the “door zone”, and take the lane as needed to perform turning maneuvers or to avoid road hazards.
- Cyclists may pass motor vehicles on the right if it is safe to do so.
- Except when passing another person cycling, people cycling on a highway shall ride in single file.
- Motor vehicles may not park in a bike lane. Fines range from $25-$225.
- Motor vehicles may only pass a bicycle if it is safe to do so and there is at least one metre of open space between the vehicle and the person cycling. Motor vehicles may cross a line to pass a bicycle safely.
- Bicycles are allowed on all roads in Nova Scotia unless otherwise posted with “no bikes or slow moving vehicles” signs.
- Cyclists must follow the same law as motor vehicles, unless the law has made specific exemptions.
- Cyclists may not ride on the sidewalk or use crosswalks while riding.
- Children (16 and under) may cycle on a sidewalk in a public square, park, city, or town.
Road safety requires both motorists and cyclists to be vigilant and obey the rules of the road to avoid accidents. When cyclists and motorists work together, the chance of a collision is greatly reduced. Learn more with the lawyers at Wagners.
Road Safety Requirements
Road safety requires both motorists and cyclists to be vigilant and obey the rules of the road to avoid accidents. When cyclists and motorists work together, the chance of a collision is greatly reduced. The Nova Scotia Motor Vehicle Act makes it clear that cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists in order to prevent accidents. Motorists must be aware of cyclists and share the road. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen.
Bicycle Accident Lawyer in Halifax
Like in many other cities, cyclists in Nova Scotia are exposed to serious accidents and personal injuries. As cycling is becoming a more popular activity in this part of the world, sharing the road with other cars can be a risky affair. Bikers are urged to adhere to the rules of the road to minimize the risk of being critically injured or even killed. Cars often have blind spots, which makes it riskier for cyclists. From illegally parked cars to motorists who disregard cyclists, potholes, exposure to the elements, and the risk of colliding with an open car door, there are many dangers that hundreds of bicyclists are left exposed to every day.
No matter where you drive in Halifax, you’re bound to share the road with other road users. In accidents that involve a bike and car, it’s usually the cyclist who sustains serious injuries regardless of who is at fault. If involved in a bicycle accident with another car, it’s important to understand your rights. You may be eligible for accident benefits regardless of the policy you have at the time of the accident. When you speak to a bicycle accident injury lawyer immediately, you’ll get help and advice to receive the compensation you deserve and cater for medical costs, attendant care, loss of income, or any other expenses that came due to the accident.
Dooring incidents and bike accident claims in Nova Scotia
There are streets in Halifax that can be quite crowded. In such places, getting ‘doored’ is any cyclist’s pervasive fear. Getting doored simply refers to a situation where a cyclist collides with a parked car door that opens suddenly, usually on the road or the rider’s path. When a door is suddenly opened on a cyclist’s path, the resulting injuries can be massive, even when the rider was cycling at low speeds. The rider can be thrown off the bike and sustain severe injuries.
To prove fault, you must show that the driver or occupant of the car was negligent in opening the door, and this resulted in the accident. Drivers are required to observe a certain level of care before opening a door into traffic. In fact, the law states that drivers of motor vehicles should not open the door on the side of moving traffic unless it is reasonably safe to do so and so long as it will not interfere with the movement of other traffic. The injured cyclist can seek compensation from the at-fault party by proving that they were negligent or behaved unreasonably in opening the door into moving traffic. With the help of an experienced bicycle accident lawyer in Nova Scotia, you can find different ways to establish the driver’s liability.
Can the driver blame the victim for the accident?
There are instances where the driver may blame the cyclist for not paying attention or not taking steps to avoid the accident. Additionally, if the cyclist was riding too close to the lane of parked cars, he/she may be considered partly at fault. It is important to work with an experienced lawyer who will put up a strong fight and defend against all claims that you were partially to blame for the dooring incident.
Differences between a Halifax bicycle accident and motorcycle accident
Unlike bicycle accidents, motorcycle accidents often occur at extremely high velocities. That’s why motorcycle accident victims suffer serious injuries such as road rash, facial fractures, broken bones, and burns. Bicyclists are at high risk of serious head injuries. In Nova Scotia, cyclists are treated like vulnerable road users, just like pedestrians.
If you are employed, you may access short- or long-term disability benefits through your employer as part of your worker’s benefits. You may also have a private policy with these benefits. Your disability insurance policy is considered as the first resort and is meant to take over immediately after the accident occurs. Your car insurance will only take over after you have exhausted your disability insurance limits.
No Fault Accident Benefits
Since Nova Scotia has the no-fault accident benefits system, cyclists can access accident benefits if injured regardless of who is to blame for the accident. The no-fault benefits can be paid from various sources depending on the unique circumstances of your accident. For instance, you can access these benefits through the motor vehicle driver’s insurance. If you have auto insurance or your spouse/parent has listed you as a dependant, you may also access no-fault benefits from these policies.
Suing the parties involved for negligence
Other than the accident benefits, you may also be entitled to compensation for losses incurred by suing the negligent party. You may get compensated for:
- Pain and suffering
- Out of pocket expenses
- Medical costs, attendant care expenses, future treatment, and care costs
- Loss of ability to earn income
- Housekeeping and caregiving costs
- Loss of guidance and companionship