In recent years cycling has exploded in popularity in Edmonton – especially since the city introduced its 7.8-kilometre network of protected bike lanes, or downtown bike grid, in 2017. In the year following, ridership doubled. It’s easy to understand why. These protected bike lanes shield cyclists from traffic and pedestrians with fences to separate them.
The city invested heavily in both protected and unprotected cycling infrastructure to promote bike riding as “a safe, healthy and efficient alternative to driving.” This includes fencing, signage and more bike racks and parking spaces. While the city’s cyclists seem to love this plan, news reporters who spoke to some drivers discovered they consider it a nuisance and an unnecessary expense.
Of course, many of these motor vehicle drivers who do not also cycle on congested city streets probably haven’t spent much time thinking about the risk cyclists take when they share the road with fast-moving, heavy machines like cars, trucks and buses. If a cyclist is involved in a collision with one of these vehicles, (s)he is far more likely to sustain injuries.
In 2019, for example, there were 130 collisions in Edmonton involving cyclists. All but 20 of these cyclists were injured, often seriously. And, seven out of 10 times the cyclist was found not to be at fault for the collisions. Unlike the safety features found in vehicles, such as steel frames, seat belts and air bags, cyclists’ bodies are almost completely exposed in a collision. Wearing a helmet, protective gloves and padding may offer some protection, a bicycle or e-bike is no match for the heavy metal and speed of a larger motor vehicle.
When a cyclist is injured in the Edmonton area, they are entitled to Section B benefits regardless of whether they have their own motor vehicle or other insurance policies. Moreover, if a cyclist is not at fault for an accident, or only partially at fault, they may be able to receive compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance for their pain, suffering and losses.
A Litco Law Edmonton bike accident lawyer can help if you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a bike accident, whether it occurred downtown, or neighbourhood side streets, on highways, or in suburban or rural areas surrounding the city.
Bikes and e-Bikes: By The Numbers
CAA found that 44% of Canadians would consider cycling more if they felt safer on the roads. Why might they not feel safe?
Around 7,500 cyclists are seriously injured in this country every year, including dozens who are killed. Statistics also show that 64% of cyclist deaths occurred on city streets. While these numbers suggest there is a general safety risk for bike riders, certain times of the day and year are especially dangerous to be out on the roads. Most cycling accidents occur around the afternoon rush hour as drivers hurry to get home, but 34% of all bike accident deaths happened because the rider was struck by a vehicle in the dark.
There are also certain places where bike and e-bike accidents are more likely to happen. CAA’s research found that cyclists are more likely to be injured and killed at intersections with traffic signals or other traffic control signs. These signs and signals may be giving riders a false sense of security. Just because you are obeying traffic laws, it doesn’t mean other drivers on the road will obey them.
Studies have found that over 80% of cyclists obey the law when riding and about three-quarters of those who disobey the law do so for their own personal safety (for example, moving to get out of the way of a car).
Bicycle Laws and Safety
While cyclists must generally follow the same rules of the road as motor vehicle drivers (for example, speed limits, traffic signs, laws against distracted driving), there are some rules which simply don’t apply to them, and others which apply specifically to them. Moreover, some rules are province-wide while others have been put in place by municipalities like Edmonton.
Alberta’s regulation require:
- all bicycles to have brakes;
- bicycles to have lit lights when in motion on a highway after dark;
- a bicycle ridden at to have at least one, but not more than two headlights, a red tail amp and a red reflector on its rear;
- no unnecessary use of bike horns;
- riders under the age of 18 to wear an approved helmet that fits properly, has a chin strap, and has a hard smooth outer shell capable of absorbing an impact; and
- parents of riders under the age of 18 not to “authorize or knowingly permit” their children to ride without a helmet.
Edmonton has also imposed rules that restrict cyclists from riding on sidewalks, unless signage permits or unless the bicycles has wheels with a diameter of 50 centimeters or less (primarily to allow children to ride on sidewalks). There are also specific rules for how to ride while on sidewalks.
In addition to what cyclists are required by law to do for their safety and the safety of others, there are some other cycling safety tips that can better protect you from being involved in an accident when on the road:
- Always do a shoulder check and use hand signals before making any turn;
- When possible, make eye contact with other motorists prior to making a maneuver;
- Wear light-coloured and reflective clothing to be more visible to motorists;
- Be extra cautious when driving near parked cars to avoid getting “doored”;
Monitor the weather and drive according to conditions.
If An Accident Happens
Despite all these laws, rules and safety precautions, accidents can and do still happen. If you had the misfortune to be involved in a bike accident causing an injury, be sure you or someone else at the scene calls for police and medical first responders to assess your injuries and offer first aid. If it’s needed or advised, go to a hospital for further immediate care. Your body may be in shock and not feeling the full extent of your injuries, so remember to be safe and err on the side of caution by being seen by a doctor.
A police report should contain information about the drivers involved in the accident, their insurance information and any witnesses of the event if you are unable to record this yourself at the scene. However, if you are in a condition where you or someone else can take photos of the scene and your injuries and record important details (what you remember leading up to the crash, weather and road conditions, etc) it can help you with a future claim.
Sadly, pedestrians and cyclists are more likely to be the victim of a hit and run accident. Even if you cannot identify the at-fault driver, there are still ways to claim benefits and compensation for your injuries.
Finally, never admit fault or accept any settlement offered on the spot by another motorist. Accepting an offer or a plea by the motorist not to involve insurance is rarely advisable. And, if the at-fault driver’s insurance company contacts you, it’s rarely advisable to speak to them or accept a settlement offer before consulting an experienced bicycle accident lawyer.
How Could A Litco Law Edmonton Bicycle Accident Lawyer Help Me?
Anyone injured in a motor vehicle accident in Alberta is entitled to Section B benefits – even if they do not have insurance policies themselves. When you contact Litco Law following your bike accident, we can help you determine how to claim benefits you’re entitled to, through your own provider or the insurer of one of the other vehicles involved in the accident.
Health insurance policy benefits may cover medical expenses, lost income, and other costs associated with your recovery. In the absence of these, or if they’ve been exhausted, accident victims can draw on Section B benefits to cover up to $50,000 in medical expenses (with limits on some popular treatments), $600 or 80% of pre-tax wages in lost income per week (whichever is lower), death and funeral benefits and money for grief counselling.
If an insurance company requires you to see one of their own medical providers to review your condition and/or denies your claim, a Litco Law bike accident lawyer can gather evidence and prepare a case to dispute this denial.
Moreover, since most cyclists injured in motor vehicles accidents are not at fault, or only partially at fault for the accident, they may be able to make a claim for compensation for pain, suffering and losses from the at-fault driver’s insurer. In the event of serious injuries which cause disability and/or prevent you from enjoying life as you had before, this compensation can go a long way to fund your future needs and help as you rebuild your life.
In the event where insult is added to injury by way of a hit-and-run accident, Litco Law can also help cyclists make a claim through the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund.
Why Choose Litco Law?
There are many lawyers in Alberta who take on personal injury cases, but there are few with the kind of reputation and track record that Litco Law personal injury lawyers have. Our efforts to help accident victims over more than 40 years have helped us become the province’s best known personal injury firm. Recognized by our peers in Canadian Lawyer Magazine as one of Canada’s Top 10 boutique personal injury firms, when you put your trust in us you can be confident that we have the expertise, knowledge and experience you’ll need to get the benefits and compensation you deserve.
But, we’re more than a firm that handles cases. We’re advocates for victims of personal injuries and their loved ones who care about their entire well-being. During your free consultation with us, we’ll listen to your story with compassion and explain how we can help. If you choose to work with us, we’ll demonstrate our commitment to excellent client care by taking the time to guide you through the process in an understandable way that doesn’t add to the stress you’re feeling. We will answer any questions you have along the way. And, we’ll take a genuine interest in your recovery and how you want to rebuild your life that goes beyond only focussing on dollars and cents.
Testimonials from past clients confirm they see Litco Law as much more than just another law firm. David, the owner of a car sales business dependent on referrals, says he is always pleased to refer people he meets to us based on his own experience. “When you go in there (the Litco Law office) you’re treated like someone that is important to the firm. Not just another number, not just another face,” he says. “I call it the elegance of business. Today in the service industry – and that’s what industry they’re really in – there’s not a lot of elegance anymore; it’s whatever’s best for me. You never feel that way when you’re dealing with Litco Law.
Other past clients like Gerald tell us they received “top notch service” and “amazing results.” Clients like Mickyla explain that our team “made dealing with the aftermath of the accident so easy,” and says she and her kids are forever grateful for the help. And clients like Samantha tell us that throughout her case she clearly saw the “expertise and professionalism” we pride ourselves on.
Here For You
After a bicycle or e-bike accident you may be angry, scared, sad, or simply overwhelmed by everything you need to think about. You are not alone. Litco Law bike accident lawyers are here for you in Edmonton. Let us join you on your road to recovery so we can open up paths to a better future.
Looking For A Bicycle Accident Lawyer in Edmonton? Contact Us.
We service the Edmonton and surrounding area, including the counties of Parkland, Leduc, Strathcona, Sturgeon. When you need a Bicycle Accident Lawyer in Edmonton, think Litco Law Personal Injury Lawyers.