Avoiding Back To School Bicycle Accidents

It’s almost time for children to be heading back to school. In most parts of Canada, the start of the school year provides great weather for children in close proximity to the school to ride bikes or walk to school. While it’s great to save energy and get exercise on our daily commutes, it’s also important to recognize that school commute times are very busy on the roads and that exercising proper bike safety is very important in order to avoid accidents with cars.

Wear proper safety gear

In Ontario it is the law that every cyclist under the age of 18 must wear an approved helmet. It is the responsibility for parents to make sure that children under the age of 16 have a helmet on before they start biking. Make sure that when selecting your helmet you pick one that meets the province’s safety standards and that it is a proper fix. While adults over the age of 18 are not required to wear a helmet, doing so can greatly reduce the risk of permanent injury or death.

It’s also the for all bikes to have a bell or horn attached to it. This is particularly important for children, since they often ride on the sidewalks and have to share that space with pedestrians.

Using lights and reflectors

Many bikes come with reflectors on them, which allow the headlights from cars to reflect and warn motorists of an approaching cyclist. For a long time it was illegal for cyclists to use flashing red lights. However, the Highway Traffic Act was updated to allow them because of the safety benefits they provide. In fact, in Ontario it is mandatory for a bike to have a white front lights and a red read light or reflector from ½ hour before sunset to ½ hour after sunrise.

Sharing the road or sidewalk

Where to ride can be a trickier area to navigate. It’s common for many children to ride on the sidewalk until they are old enough to navigate their bikes on the street. However, cities and regions have their own rules around where bicycles can be ridden. For example, riders under the age of 13 in Toronto are able to ride on a sidewalk, but riders over 13 years of age can only do so if a sidewalk is designated as a bike lane.

Regardless of where you or your children ride, it is important to understand and use proper signs when biking. Holding your left arm pointing up at a right angle indicates a right turn, a right angle pointing down indicates slowing or stopping, while holding the left arm straight out indicates a left turn.

Of course it is also important to let children know of the importance of following traffic signs, particularly stop signs and lights if they encounter them on the way to school.

In the unfortunate event that you or someone you love is involved in a cycling accident, it’s important to first address any health issues that may be at play. After checking in with a doctor you should then reach out to an experienced personal injury lawyer to determine what the best possible resolution to your accident could be. The team at Derfel Injury Law will work tirelessly on your behalf in the event of a cycling injury involving an automobile. Our office is conveniently located in Toronto. Call us at 416.847.3580 to schedule a visit at the individual office closest to you or contact us using the form below.