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Summer Safety: Bicycles and Injuries

Summer has officially arrived here in Newfoundland and Labrador, and with the return of warmer weather comes the resurgence of the leisurely bicycle ride.

However, this favourite outdoor activity carries with it risks for cyclists, as they must share the road with motor vehicles. Under the law, cyclists are instructed to share the roadways, unless there is a path next to the road specifically designated for the use of bicycles. This is particularly difficult in many parts of Newfoundland and Labrador.

While bicycles clearly are not motor vehicles, many of the same rules in the Highway Traffic Act apply since cyclists must follow the rules of the road. For example, cyclists must obey traffic signals, they cannot weave in and out of traffic, and they must wear a properly fitted bicycle helmet. Cyclists can even be fined if they are caught using public sidewalks!

Following the rules of the road is not just a good safety idea—in the unlikely event that you are injured, your own conduct could affect the compensation you receive. It’s important to be mindful of this before the peddles ever start turning.

When we are out bicycling we plan for our ride: we put on sun block, bring a water bottle, plot a route, etc. What we do not plan for are accidents to occur when we are out riding—but, sadly they do happen. If you do get injured by a vehicle while out riding, it is important to first take care of yourself and seek medical attention. It is also important to get the basic information from the person who hit you, and to report the accident to the police.

Injuries sustained when a motor vehicle hits a cyclist can be very serious. If this happens to you, many areas of your life can become temporarily or permanently impacted. You may miss extended periods of work, incur expensive medicals bills for necessary treatments or medications, or even have difficulty with performing what were once simple household tasks. Limitation periods can also impact the window of time you have available to make a claim to gain compensation for your losses. This is why it is important to call a lawyer quickly if you have been injured — O’Dea Earle has extensive experience in this area, and it costs nothing to pick up the phone and call.

There are few things more pleasant than a summer bike ride on a sunny day. Don’t let someone else’s negligence put a damper on the season—familiarize yourself with the rules of the road, wear your helmet, and be safe. In the event you are involved in an accident, however, you should focus on your recovery, and we will take care of the rest to make sure that you get fair compensation for your loss. Make it our fight.