Cyclist Safety and Road Defects: What You Need to Know

Road Defect Pic Scaled

Cycling is not only an eco-friendly mode of transportation but also a great way to stay fit. However, cyclists often face hazards due to imperfections on the roads and bike paths. Potholes, grates, debris, and other road defects can lead to serious accidents and injuries.

Types of Accidents Caused by Road Defects

Cyclists can encounter a range of accidents due to road imperfections. A pothole can easily throw a cyclist off balance, leading to a fall or a collision with a vehicle. Grates and uneven surfaces can catch bike tires, causing abrupt stops or swerves that result in crashes. Debris like branches, rocks, or litter can also lead to dangerous slips and falls. These accidents can cause a variety of injuries from minor scrapes to serious fractures, head injuries, or even life-threatening conditions.

The lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth have represented cyclist clients facing pot holes or protruding roots on bike paths maintained by cities as well as the National Capital Commission.  We’ve also helped clients who have been injured when their wheels got stuck when a rung was missing from a sewer grate.

Immediate Steps After an Accident

If you’re injured due to a road defect while cycling, take the following steps immediately:

Seek Medical Attention: Your health comes first. If you’re injured, call emergency services or have someone take you to a hospital.  Waiting too long to get medical help is not only bath for your health and recovery.  It also hurts your claim for compensation.

Document the Scene: If possible, take photos of the defect that caused your accident and the surrounding area. This can be crucial evidence.  Try to take photos in a way that helps your lawyers locate the defect, by including landmarks in the photos.

Find Witnesses: If anyone saw what happened, get their contact information. Witness statements can support your version of events.  Ideally the witness can text you their info.

Note the Details: Write down the time, date, and exact location of the accident. Note any relevant road signs or signals near the defect.

Legal Steps and Notices

In Ontario, if a road defect caused your cycling accident, you might need to give notice to the municipality, province or other owner of the roadway very soon after the accident. This is because there are often very short windows, sometimes as brief as 10 days, to formally notify the responsible party of your intention to seek compensation.

Proving Liability Under Ontario Law

Under Ontario’s Occupiers’ Liability Act (OLA), cyclists must prove that the party responsible for maintaining the road or bike path was negligent. Sections 3 and 4 of the OLA specify that the occupier of a premises owes a duty to ensure that the premises are reasonably safe for use. This means proving:

  • The road was in a dangerous condition.
  • The responsible party knew or should have known about the condition.
  • They failed to take reasonable steps to fix the condition or warn users.

Additionally, the Minimum Maintenance Standards for Municipal Highways might play a role, determining what constitutes ‘reasonable steps’ and ‘timely manner’ for repairs.

How a Lawyer and Engineer Assess Liability

To build a strong case, a lawyer will often work with an expert engineer to:

  • Take precise measurements of the defect and the surrounding area.
  • Analyze the maintenance records for the roadway.
  • Assess compliance with safety standards and guidelines.

This detailed assessment helps demonstrate how the defect led to the accident and establishes the negligence of the roadway’s maintainer.

Potential Damages in a Lawsuit

If you’re injured due to a road defect, you might be entitled to various forms of compensation, including:

Medical Expenses: For immediate and ongoing medical treatment.

Loss of Income: If your injuries prevent you from working.

Pain and Suffering: For the physical and emotional distress caused by the accident.

Other Expenses: Such as rehabilitation, home modifications, or other costs related to your recovery.

Why Contact Auger Hollingsworth?

If you’ve been injured due to a road defect while cycling, contact Auger Hollingsworth as soon as possible. We can provide legal notice of your claim and start an investigation before the scene changes. Our experienced team will work to protect your rights and ensure you get the compensation you deserve.

Time is critical in these cases to ensure all evidence is preserved and notices are given on time. Let us help you through this challenging time with expert advice and dedicated support.

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