An increasing number of people in Vancouver and throughout British Columbia use their bicycles today to commute and get exercise. However, even though cyclists are becoming a common sight on our roads, vehicle drivers are not getting any better at sharing the road with them or respecting their rights. Serious and deadly bicycle accidents continue to occur at alarmingly high rates.If a careless or reckless vehicle driver hit you while you were cycling, you owe it to yourself to learn about your rights and the legal options available to you. This includes your right to file an ICBC no-fault benefits claim or a tort claim against the at-fault driver.
Get in touch with the cycling accident lawyers at Klein Lawyers LLP. For more than 20 years, our legal team has helped injured cyclists and their families to file ICBC claims and recover compensation for their medical expenses and more. We will provide a free review of your case today.
You Have Rights as a Cyclist in Vancouver
Under the Motor Vehicle Act, RSBC 1996, c. 318, cyclists in British Columbia have the same rights and duties as vehicle drivers. In order to respect cyclists’ rights and safely share the road with them, the B.C. government encourages vehicle drivers to:
- Give ample space to cyclists. When passing a cyclist, the driver should change lanes, if possible, or leave at least one meter between the vehicle and the cyclist. Also, drivers should always leave a safe following distance in order to avoid rear-end collisions.
- Respect bike lanes and bike boxes. Bike lanes and boxes are spaces reserved for cyclists. They are designed to prevent collisions. Drivers must pay attention to these areas and stay out of them. If a driver must cross a bike lane, the driver should yield to any cyclists that are using the lane.
- Pay attention to sharrows. If a driver sees a symbol that shows two chevrons above a bicycle, it means that cyclists and drivers must share the entire lane.
- Use signals and check mirrors and blind spots before turning. If a driver intends to turn (or change lanes), the driver must use a signal to give cyclists a proper warning and must check for any approaching cyclists.
- Use caution when opening a door. Many “dooring” accidents occur when vehicle drivers park and open their doors in the path of an oncoming cyclist. Drivers should check before they open their doors and wait for approaching cyclists to pass.
Unfortunately, many vehicle drivers in Vancouver fail to follow these basic steps or to otherwise exercise reasonable care when they are around cyclists. Serious bicycle accidents result. In many instances, the driver may be impaired by alcohol or driving while distracted by texting or talking on a cell phone at the time of the crash.
If a driver failed to use reasonable care and hit you while you were cycling, you have the right to bring a tort claim against that driver. Klein Lawyers will help you to gather the proof you need to show that the accident was the driver’s fault. With this proof, we can help you to file a claim to recover damages for your injuries.
Bicycle Accident Compensation Claims
Our lawyers often work with cyclists who have suffered severe, life-changing injuries such as:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Back and spine injury
- Multiple fractures
- Friction burns
- Loss of limbs
- Soft tissue damage (usually in the wrists, knees and ankles).
If you suffered injuries in a collision with a motor vehicle in Vancouver or elsewhere in British Columbia, Klein Lawyers will help you to explore all sources of compensation available to you.
For instance, if you are involved in an accident with an ICBC-insured vehicle, then Autoplan no-fault (Part 7) insurance benefits should extend to you – regardless of who was at fault. No-fault coverage includes:
- Medical and rehabilitation benefits
- Wage loss benefits (up to $1,200 per month)
- Homemaker benefits (up to $145 per week).
If another driver’s negligence caused the collision, you may also be eligible to file a tort claim for compensation through the driver’s third party liability coverage. By law, every B.C. motorist must carry a minimum of $200,000 in third party liability coverage. However, most motorists carry higher amounts. A tort claim may result in compensation that includes:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost wages and diminished future earning ability
- Pain and suffering.
In a cycling accident claim, it will be equally important to show that you were not at fault. An ICBC claims adjuster, for instance, may argue that your failure to follow your duties as a cyclist under the Motor Vehicle Act contributed to the accident. The law requires cyclists in B.C. to:
- Ride as near as practicable to the right side of the road and not ride on sidewalks and crosswalks unless directed to do so by a sign.
- Never ride two abreast.
- Never ride a bicycle without using their hands.
- Use a white headlight, red reflector and red rear-facing light if riding during the period between a half-hour before sunset to a half-hour after sunrise.
- Use brakes that are “sharp enough to make the braked wheels skid.”
- Use their arms and hands to signal turns and stops or decreases in speed.
- Wear bike helmets.
Klein Lawyers will aggressively challenge any attempt to blame you for a bicycle accident that harmed you or caused the loss of a loved one. We always conduct thorough investigations and, in many cases, we consult with accident reconstruction experts. Our goal is simple. We want to prepare the strongest possible case on your behalf and pursue the maximum amount for you.
Contact Our Vancouver Bicycle Accident Lawyers Today
Our firm has more than 20 years of experience with handling bicycle accident ICBC claims in Vancouver and throughout British Columbia. Klein Lawyers has the experience you need to seek full and fair compensation for your injuries and losses.
Contact us today to discuss your case in a free consultation. As always, we guarantee that you will pay no fee unless we secure a recovery for you.