Cyclists for cyclists.
There are seven avid cyclists in our office — and the number is growing! We participate in and sponsor cycling events and organizations such as the RBC GranFondo Whistler, Glotman Simpson Cycling and WOWride Cycling.
The team at Helpforme Personal Legal Services is passionate about cycling, as well as educating the community on cycling safety and your legal rights as a cyclist. As the Vancouver law firm known for its involvement in the cycling community, Helpforme is home to one of BC’s largest and most experienced teams of personal injury lawyers under one roof. We represent cyclists because we’re cyclists too, and we extend our care to promote injury prevention.
We invite you to visit our case studies and read about how we have helped people who have been injured and needed expert legal representation. If you are a cyclist and have been injured or have questions regarding your legal rights, feel free to contact us.
"Cyclists shouldn’t have to accept that it’s normal to have so many accidents happening on an annual basis. Accidents affect our lives in ways that are unimaginable, which no sum of money can equate to."
JOEL ZANATTA, PARTNER, HELPFORME
We’re cycling enthusiasts and experienced litigators who will fight for your rights.
There are seven avid cyclists in our office – and the number is growing! We participate in and sponsor cycling events and organizations such as the RBC GranFondo Whistler, Glotman Simpson Cycling and WOWride Cycling.
In 2016, there were over 2,100 accidents involving cyclists across British Columbia. We hope you never need us, but we’re here for you if you’ve been hurt. We know how to deal with ICBC and the unique circumstances around cycling accidents. We offer expert legal advice and 20 years of experience in the courtroom. In addition to your injury claim, we fight on your behalf to secure medical benefits, rehabilitation benefits and wage loss benefits.
CYCLING ACCIDENTS (2016)
Sponsored by helpforme
RBC GranFondo Whistler
This annual 122 km cycling event from Vancouver to Whistler is the #1 Gran Fondo in North America. The largest of its kind, the ride has over 4,000 cyclists participating each year and has been selected to host the 2020 UCI Gran Fondo World Championships.
Glotman Simpson Cycling and The Cypress Challenge
As the largest cycling club in BC, Glotman Simpson Cycling focuses on providing cycling enthusiasts of all abilities a safe and supportive environment for riding and racing. The Club hosts The Cypress Challenge, an annual cycling event dedicated to raising money for the BC Cancer Foundation in support of Pancreatic Cancer research and care. To-date, the event has raised over $3 million.
WOWride is an all-female cycling club based in Vancouver. The club was created to connect like-minded, dynamic, female cyclists to ride strongly together in a fun and safe environment. With a motto of #strongertogether, WOWride focuses on empowering women in cycling.
Cycling and the law
The team at Helpforme believes that it is important for cyclists to understand their responsibilities on the road. It’s helpful for cyclists to understand applicable aspects of the law to ensure their rights are protected in the event of an accident.
The law asks all road users to share the risks and responsibilities concerning accident prevention. As a cyclist, you have a duty, as much as anyone else, to minimize risks and follow the rules of the road responsibly. Safety should be a priority for all and as a cyclist, you must ride with ‘minimizing risks’ front of mind – this starts by ensuring you are visible and includes wearing appropriate clothing, using daytime lights and other examples listed below.
With respect to liability, you are responsible to do as much as you can to reduce both the likelihood and the potential consequences of an accident. In order to do this you should take all available precautions. By making every effort to cycle safely and defensively you vastly reduce the likelihood of an insurance company alleging that you are wholly or partially at fault should an accident occur.
If you are involved in an accident and suffer injuries and/or damages, the value of your personal injury claim could be reduced by a certain percentage if contributory negligence on your part can be proven. For example, we’ve seen many cases where the value of a claim was reduced because a cyclist was riding on a sidewalk when they should have been occupying the roadway.
Even if an accident isn’t wholly your fault, any negligent actions (or inactions) on your part that arguably contributed to the severity of the results of the accident may affect any legal claim that you pursue afterward. Conversely, if you do take precautions to limit the potential risks, you are in a much stronger position if you need to make a claim.
Now that daytime lights are mandatory for all cars in BC, a bike is less visible without lights during the day. While it is not a legal requirement for cyclists to use daytime lights, we advise you to start using them now to increase your visibility. Riding without daytime lights puts you at greater risk; why not do everything in your power to reduce that risk.
Know the basics
Ride with your head up, keep looking one-and-a-half to two blocks forward, and practice both right and left shoulder-checks. This is a critically important skill in traffic. Practice riding in a straight line under varying conditions so you are well-prepared in traffic. Riding in a straight line also makes you predictable to other road users. It is also critical that you are able to control your bike at all times.
Always make hand signals well in advance of any turn. As signalling requires cycling with just one hand on the handlebars, practice doing hand signals while maintaining a straight line. The proper turning sequence is:
1. Shoulder check
2. Hand signal
3. With both hands on the handlebars, shoulder check again before making the turn or the stop.
4. If you need to make an emergency manoeuvre, the need for the cyclist to keep both hands on the handlebars may sometimes outweigh their need to signal. In such cases, it is accepted that safety should prevail and the cyclist’s skill and judgement must be relied upon to avoid incidents or injuries.
Don’t assume drivers respect and acknowledge cycling lanes – you have to count on yourself to be safe, so be alert.
If you see signage telling you to dismount, do so. Use right and left turn signals and stopping signals. Make eye contact with oncoming vehicles when turning – and make sure they see you. Be assertive and vigilant. By following the above steps you will be playing your part in doing all you can to prevent an accident.
When riding in a group, most riders would likely agree that you have a moral duty to other riders to reduce the risks of causing and contributing to an accident, and to know and use road ride signals (pointing to obstacles, gravel signal, etc.). Safe riding in groups also involves not wearing headphones, avoiding overlapping wheels, and using precautions in pace lines. While cyclists typically don’t sue each other, you have a responsibility to do all you can to prevent an accident from happening. Everyone in the cycling community should be looking out for each other.
Sometimes we need to be vigilant to the point where we take extra precautions – not because of the law, but because we are sensible and know these things will make ourselves and others safer. Examples include making sure your bike is in excellent working condition before riding – ensuring your brakes are in perfect working order, your tires are properly inflated, and that the quick-release on your wheels is closed, etc., as well as maintaining a reasonable speed for your own safety, as much as for the safety of others.
According to Section 183 of the BC Motor Vehicle Act, “A person operating a cycle on a highway has the same rights and duties as a driver of a vehicle.” This means that by law, cyclists have the same rights and duties as operators of vehicles, such as right-of-way, traffic signs and signals. Learning all the required cycling skills will greatly increase your safety when cycling in traffic.
If you are in doubt about the rules of the road, obtain a copy of Road Sense for Drivers – BC’s Safe Driving Guide from an ICBC office. To improve your skills, knowledge and confidence on the road, consider registering in an approved cycling course such as CAN-BIKE Traffic Skills, or Skills 1 and 2, taught by certified cycling instructors. For more advanced riders, we recommend taking cycling courses offered by Cycling BC.
3 things to do
if you are in an accident
Get All The Details
First, make sure that you get the license plate and driver details of the vehicle involved in the crash. It is also a good idea to get the personal information of any witnesses and if possible take photos of the scene. If you’ve been hurt and gathering details is the furthest thing from your mind, we can work with what you’ve got. We’ll figure it out together.
See Your Doctor & Call helpforme
It’s time to take care of yourself. Depending on the severity of your accident, see your doctor or go to the emergency room immediately for medical attention. Once you’ve been cared for, contact Helpforme. We’ll support you through the claim process and help with any ongoing medical assessments and additional assistance you need to heal.
Report Your Claim with our advice
Call ICBC directly to report your claim. Make sure you have all your details ready for the call. They are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We’re dedicated to ensuring you have the most hassle-free experience with ICBC with as little stress as possible.
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