With summer finally in our midst, and Calgary being home to a number of pathways and city street cycling routes, it is a great time for all of us to be reminded of a few important safety issues that are important to keep in mind when bicycling.

Under Alberta’s legislation, specifically the Traffic Safety Act, a bicycle being ridden on a public roadway is considered a “vehicle” and is therefore subject to the same rules of the road as any car, SUV or truck. Every cyclist, including minors, must ensure they are familiar with and follow all traffic laws. This will not only serve to prevent collisions between cyclists and motor vehicles, but will also ensure that if an accident does occur, the cyclist is not found to be at fault.

In terms of safety equipment, while helmets are mandatory for cyclists of all ages in some Canadian provinces, Alberta currently only mandates the use of helmets for those under 18 years of age. From the perspective of minimizing severity of injury, it is recommended that cyclists of all ages wear a helmet whenever riding, and also make use of reflectors, lights, and bells on their bicycles and person to increase the awareness of other users of the road as to their presence.

By following Alberta traffic safety rules, wearing a helmet, and ensuring all reasonable safety precautions are taken, we can minimize the risk of accidents and injuries occurring on our roads. In bringing a claim against another party for injuries you sustained as the result of an accident, if you did not follow the applicable traffic laws or take appropriate safety precautions, even if the other party was largely at fault, you are likely to face allegations of contributory negligence on your part, which results in a reduction in the compensation you are entitled to for your injuries. If you have been involved in an accident as a cyclist, and suffered injury as a result, phone the lawyers at Cuming & Gillespie LLP to find out more about your rights and whether you have a claim. Our office has successfully represented a number of individuals injured while bicycling. You can rest assured that we will utilize our experience and do everything we can to maximize your claim.