Cycling has become a popular and more affordable transportation option for people who are residing or/and working uptown recently. My response on this transportation option is quite positive from an environmental-friendly perspective, given the condition that the cyclists follow and obey the Rules of Road governed by the Ontario Highway Traffic Act (HTA).
The definition of "vehicle" under the HTA includes bicycle and power-assisted bicycle, of which the driver shares the same rights and responsibilities as other road users as to obey traffic signs and rules (except cycling is not permitted in the highways). Meanwhile, cyclist should use the correct hand signals for turning and stopping.
Notwithstanding of the fact that bicycle is considered as "vehicle" under the Act, the driver of bicycle sometimes behaves as vehicle while sometimes as pedestrian, causing confusion to both pedestrian and road users with hindering risks and possible injury or/and collision under this circumstance. Remember, sidewalks are designated for pedestrian but not for cyclists; any improper use of sidewalk by cyclists can endanger pedestrian who are senior, stroller, children, visual/hearing impaired person etc., resulted from the bicycle's speedy rate!
1) Bicycle is not allowed on the sidewalk
Toronto's sidewalk cycling bylaw shall stipulate "no person age 14 and older may ride a bicycle on the sidewalk". The fine for an adult who rides a bicycle on a sidewalk shall be $60. Cyclists must stay close to the right edge of the road whenever possible.
2) Using Crossroad as a Cyclist
When approaching an intersection where the cyclist needs to make a left-hand turn, the cyclist has two options:
- Move into the appropriate lane to safely cross the intersection and turn left as vehicle in the flow of traffic; OR
- Dismount and walk their bikes across the crosswalk as a pedestrian.
3) Safety Equipment for Cyclists
- A white front light and a red rear light or reflector when you are riding between half hour before sunset and half hour after sunrise;
- White reflective tape in front and reflective tape at the back of your bicycle frame;
- Working rear brakes;
- A bell or horn;
- By law, every cyclist under age 18 must wear an approved helmet, or else a fine is applicable.
4) Fine/or and liability imposed on the cyclists in relation to pedestrian's injury
- Cyclists may be charged with Careless Driving with the fine from $400 to $2,000 and potentially up to six months of jail, caused by the driver's behaviour "without due care and attention" under the Highway Traffic Act.
- A personal injury lawsuit may be filed by the victim to seek for damages or/and suffering caused by the driver.
My personal encounter with the cyclist recently was not a pleasant experience that I was nearly struck by the cyclist on the sidewalk, when I was bending over and picking up newspaper from the stand on the sidewalk. The cyclist almost made a head-on collision on me, who obviously did not see me, when I started to walk away from the stand. Another example of my encounter with the cyclist was when I was driving my car, waiting for my left turn on a green light. There was a cyclist on my blind spot from the left riding on his bicycle crossing to the other side on the crossroad at a rapid speed. I would have hit him, if I hadn't noticed him immediately right after, as opposed to more safety if he walked with his bicycle on a crossroad when its speed is more predictable.
There were many sad news in relation to the pedestrian fatally struck by cyclists on the sidewalk. On August 4, 2011, an elderly Toronto pedestrian, Nobu Okamoto, 74, was heavily struck by a 33-year-old cyclist on Finch Avenue West. Mr. Okamoto sustained head injuries, cuts and scrapes to the right side of his body and died a week later in the Toronto Western Hospital. A Vancouver senior was seriously injured when he was struck by a cyclist on pedestrian-only path, on the south side of False Creek on June 8, 2016. These are just few examples mentioned above.
This article is to bring your attention of cycling on the sidewalk which endangers the safety of pedestrian, and we all have the responsibilities to keep our sidewalk safe as a citizen. If you observe any improper or dangerous use of cyclists on the sidewalk, you can file a traffic complaint and report to the Police Traffic Services Department in your Municipality!
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be construed as a legal advice, but strictly for information only in this entire website. Please contact Trustworthy Legal Service for your independent legal advice in your particular situation. The first consultation is also required prior to my retainer of your case.
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