Injured cyclist calls for bikes to be considered vehicles in eyes of law
Cyclists are used to feeling the sun on their face and the wind in their hair. But what if you are out riding your bike on the road one day and are hit by a car? What if the driver of the car cannot be convicted under the Motor Vehicle Act for hitting you? What if the reason the driver can't be convicted is that you are riding your bicycle and not driving your car? Hitting close to home, cyclist Kyle MacKay was struck by a vehicle at an intersection in Bayers Lake Business Park here in Halifax last November. The case against the other driver was dropped because the law doesn't apply to a collision with a cyclist.
The Motor Vehicle Act in Nova Scotia has a definition for both a vehicle and a bicycle. The problem? A bicycle is not considered a vehicle under the legislation. This can raise additional problems as bicycles have to be ridden on the road, next to cars and buses that provide protection to their drivers and passengers.
Elsewhere in Canada, bicycles are considered vehicles under legislation which helps them to be protected by the law. Ontario's Highway Traffic Act, for example, has a rather broad definition of what constitutes a vehicle which solves the problems we are seeing here in Halifax. Courts here in Nova Scotia have recognized that there are ambiguities and have suggested revising the law. However, until the law here in Nova Scotia is changed, there will be concerns that the rules of the road are failing to protect cyclists.
Questions about a cycling accident?
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