Injured bicycle rider charge with riding on crosswalk in Waterloo

July 23, 2014, Kitchener, Ontario

Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer

A bicyclist was struck by a sports utility vehicle in Waterloo near the University of Waterloo.  The accident occurred at University Avenue West and the Laurel Trail crossing between Phillip  Street and Seagram Drive in Waterloo.  A female, age 21, was riding a bike in a crosswalk when she was struck by the driver of the SUV.  The bicycle rider was injured in the accident and taken to hospital.  The bicycle rider was also charged by the police for riding her bicycle on a crosswalk.   Under the Ontario Highway Traffic Act (HTA) a bicycle is considered a vehicle and there are certain restrictions under the HTA.   A bicyclist has to yield for pedestrians at crosswalks.  Also, the bicyclist cannot ride in crosswalks.  The bicyclist is expected to walk their bike when crossing a sidewalk.

In reality, it is quite clear that most bicyclists will ride on sidewalks and continue onto a crosswalk as they travel through an intersection.  But there are dangers with that activity and both bicycle riders and car drivers need to be aware and cautious at crosswalks.  It is important that the bicycle rider takes care and uses caution when entering the intersection and on to the crosswalk.  The bicyclist should stop before entering the crosswalk and dismount from the bike.  Then the cyclist should walk the bike across the intersection on the crosswalk.  However, it is important to note that while a charge for riding on a crosswalk is a violation under the Highway Traffic Act, it is not a final determination of any liability on the part of the car driver for hitting the bicyclist.  There is a different level of proof required for criminal and HTA charges and the level of proof required in a civil matter.  Car drivers need to be cautious at intersections.  Not only should they be mindful of pedestrians in the area, but they should also consider whether there are any bicycle riders in the vicinity.  A car driver can still face some liability in a civil claim for damages where the car driver strikes a bicycle rider in a crosswalk. 

If an injured cyclist is charged, they should not automatically pay the fine, but rather consider electing to have the matter tried in criminal or HTA court.  This provides the bicycle rider with the opportunity to have the car driver cross examined without benefit of a defence lawyer.  This can lead to some significant admissions that could be helpful in a civil claim.  The issue of liability (who’s at fault) will be a key issue in the civil claim for damages.

Attached is a link to a summary of Cycling and the Law in Ontario: http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/safety/bicycle-safety.shtml

Posted under Amputation and Disfigurement, Bicycle Accidents, Car Accidents, Fractures, Paraplegia, Personal Injury, Spinal Cord Injury

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About Deutschmann Law

Deutschmann Law serves South-Western Ontario with offices in Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Woodstock, Brantford, Stratford and Ayr. The law practice of Robert Deutschmann focuses almost exclusively in personal injury and disability insurance matters. For more information, please visit www.deutschmannlaw.com or call us toll-free at 1-866-414-4878.

The opinions expressed here, while intended to provide useful information, should not be interpreted as legal recommendations or advice.

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