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Bike Safety & Bicycle Accident Lawyer in Halifax

Victor Lewin - Monday, September 18, 2017

With all the good weather we have been having lately, as motorists it is important to be aware of cyclists on the road. The Nova Scotia Motor Vehicle Act makes it clear that cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists in order to prevent accidents. For example, both are required to drive on the right side of the road and both are required to drive single file, except when passing. Both motorists and cyclists are required to use signals when making turns.

The motorist has a duty to be aware of cyclists and to share the road. Motorists are required to leave at least one metre (three feet) of space when passing a cyclist. It is also important for motorists to be aware of the speed of the bicycle. Often motorists misjudge the speed a cyclist is traveling and this mistake can lead to collisions.

As for cyclists, the law requires that a helmet be worn at all times. Your helmet should be snug and be low on the forehead. The chin strap should be tight enough to allow only one finger between it and your chin. Lights and reflectors are also essential, particularly when travelling at night. A horn or bell can be used to warn pedestrians and other vehicles that you are approaching.

The Bicycle NS website lists the following “Rules of the Road for People Riding Bicycles”:

  • Cyclists of all ages must wear a helmet.
  • Every bicycle must be equipped with a bell or horn.
  • When riding between 30 minutes before sunset (dusk, not dark) and 30 minutes after sunrise, you must have a front white light and a rear red light or rear red reflector.
  • Just like people driving motor vehicles, people riding bicycles must signal their intention to turn and make lane changes.
  • Cyclists must ride on the right hand side of the road, with the flow of traffic, and as near as practicable to the road edge (roughly one metre from the road edge depending on speed of traffic, road edge/width, and destination).
  • Cyclists may take the full lane if going through a roundabout, making a left turn, or otherwise feel that they need to do so for their safety. Ride in a straight predictable path, do not weave around parked cars, stay one metre away from parked cars to avoid the “door zone”, and take the lane as needed to perform turning maneuvers or to avoid road hazards.
  • Cyclists may pass motor vehicles on the right if it is safe to do so.
  • Except when passing another person cycling, people cycling on a highway shall ride in single file.
  • Motor vehicles may not park in a bike lane. Fines range from $25-$225.
  • Motor vehicles may only pass a bicycle if it is safe to do so and there is at least one metre of open space between the vehicle and the person cycling. Motor vehicles may cross a line to pass a bicycle safely.
  • Bicycles are allowed on all roads in Nova Scotia unless otherwise posted with “no bikes or slow moving vehicles” signs.
  • Cyclists must follow the same law as motor vehicles, unless the law has made specific exemptions.
  • Cyclists may not ride on the sidewalk or use crosswalks while riding.
  • Children (16 and under) may cycle on a sidewalk in a public square, park, city, or town.

Road safety requires both motorists and cyclists to be vigilant and obey the rules of the road to avoid accidents. When cyclists and motorists work together, the chance of a collision is greatly reduced. Learn more with the lawyers at Wagners.

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