Cyclists are often required to share the road with much larger and faster vehicles, and this makes cyclists uniquely vulnerable to injury and loss when involved in an accident with a motor vehicle. Clearly, a cyclist involved in a collision with a motor vehicle can suffer serious injuries, even when properly attired and wearing a helmet as required by law. Cyclists injured as a result of a careless motorist are entitled to compensation for their injuries and losses.
Motorists are required to take certain precautions when sharing the road with cyclists. Drivers must always be on the look out for cyclists and be prepared to adjust their driving habits if one is present. This includes slowing down when driving beside a cyclist if failing to do so could be dangerous. Drivers who park their vehicles on the street are also required to check for cyclists before opening their door.
Pursuant to British Columbia’s Motor Vehicle Act, cyclists have statutory rights and duties the same as an operator of a motor vehicle. There are also special responsibilities particular to cyclists under the Motor Vehicle Act that pertain to proper safety equipment and rules of the road. For instance, bicycles are not allowed to be ridden on sidewalks. Cyclists must ride as near as possible to the right side of the road. Cyclists must also dismount at cross-walks unless specifically permitted. It is also the law in British Columbia that cyclists must wear safety helmets. By following these rules, cyclists can guard against accidents, and if injured in a collision with a motor vehicle, protect their claim for compensation against any reduction for contributory negligence.