Cycling is an enjoyable way to exercise, commute, and appreciate the outdoors. While cycling can be a great form of exercise and transportation, it can also pose significant risks, especially when sharing the road with motor vehicles. According to the Canadian Vital Statistics: Death Database (CVSD), between 2006 and 2017, 890 cyclists lost their lives in Canada, averaging 74 deaths per year. This article examines the circumstances surrounding cyclist accidents in Canada and provides preventive measures to help keep cyclists safe on the road.
Cyclist Fatalities in Canada
According to data from the Canadian Vital Statistics: Death Database (CVSD), there was a decrease in the age-standardized cycling death rate from 2.5 in 2006 to 1.3 deaths per 1,000,000 population in 2017. However, collisions with motor vehicles still accounted for 73% of fatal cycling events during this period. Other events leading to cycling fatalities include collisions with another cyclist or a stationary object (25%).
The majority of cyclist fatalities were males, with a male-to-female death ratio of 5.6 to 1. Among the age groups, cyclists aged 50 to 64 accounted for the highest percentage of deaths at almost one-third (27%), followed by those aged 35 to 49 (22%) and 65 and older (19%). The proportion of deaths for cyclists under 20 years old and those aged 20 to 34 were similar at 16% and 15%, respectively.
The Role of Helmets in Cycling Accidents
Wearing a helmet is widely recognized to protect against head injuries while cycling. The Canadian Coroner and Medical Examiner Database (CCMED) reported that from 2006 to 2017, 32% of individuals involved in cycling fatalities were not wearing a helmet. The proportion of men who died while not wearing a helmet was higher than that of women. In 2017, women had a higher proportion of always wearing a helmet (49%) compared to men (43%). Notably, among cyclist fatalities aged 35 to 49, 25% were not wearing a helmet.
The Role of Alcohol and Drugs in Cycling Accidents
According to the Canadian Coroner and Medical Examiner Database (CCMED), between 2006 and 2017, 12% of cycling fatalities may have involved alcohol and/or drug use by the cyclist. This proportion was higher for male cyclists (13%) than for female cyclists (3%). The percentage of cyclists involved in fatal events while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs varied across age groups.
Preventive Measures for Cyclist Accidents
The data provided by the Canadian Vital Statistics: Death Database (CVSD) shows that there is a decline in the rate of collisions and fatalities involving cyclists. However, it is essential to continue to take preventive measures to reduce the number of cyclist accidents further. Some of the preventive measures that can be taken are:
- Improving cycling infrastructure: The construction of dedicated cycling lanes and paths can make cycling safer and reduce the risk of accidents involving cyclists. The cities and towns across Canada should invest more in cycling infrastructure, especially in high-traffic areas.
- Increasing awareness: It is crucial to create awareness about cycling safety rules and encourage safe cycling practices. This can be done through public campaigns, school education programs, and community events. People need to understand the importance of wearing helmets, following traffic rules, and respecting other road users’ rights.
- Enforcing traffic rules: The authorities need to enforce traffic rules strictly, especially in areas with high cycling traffic. This includes cracking down on drivers who break traffic rules and impose penalties for violators.
- Promoting safe driving practices: Drivers must be educated about the importance of sharing the road with cyclists and other vulnerable road users. It is essential to promote safe driving practices, such as keeping a safe distance, slowing down in residential areas, and avoiding distractions while driving.
- Using technology: The advancements in technology can play a significant role in preventing cycling accidents. The use of sensors, cameras, and other technology can alert drivers to the presence of cyclists and other road users, reducing the risk of collisions.
Personal Injury Lawyers in Toronto
In spite of preventive measures taken, cycling accidents may still occur. In the event that you or your loved ones have sustained injuries in a cycling mishap, you could potentially receive compensation. A personal injury lawyer in Toronto can assist you throughout the legal process and aid in securing compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and other losses that have arisen due to the accident. With expertise in handling cycling accident cases, they can negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf and even litigate in court if needed, to ensure that your rights are protected.