Calgary’s Cycle Track Network provides a great opportunity for commuters and cycling enthusiasts to enjoy our city while helping it go greener, but it could it also create a legal risk?

As the law currently stands, cyclists can be held responsible for the damages and injuries they cause when they are at fault for accidents with other cyclists, pedestrians, and even with cars and trucks (though in these instances damages are almost always limited to property, with bodily injuries to other parties virtually non-existent). If the Cycle Track Network encourages more Calgarians to hop on their bicycles, some are worried that an increase in bicycle path-related accidents—and potentially in personal injury suits arising from those accidents—could occur.

The opening of the new network of bicycle paths and lanes in Calgary does make for a good time to remind cyclists that, like any other vehicle on the road, they have a legal responsibility to act in a way that keeps everyone around them safe. When they are negligent in that responsibility and cause an injury, they can be held liable for it.

It is also a good time to remind Calgary cyclists how important it is to stay safe. While cyclists can cause injuries in accidents, they are more often the recipients of serious injuries when accidents involve far heavier (and often faster) cars and trucks. Ride defensively, follow the rules, and keep yourself out of the hospital and the courtroom.