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5 Common Causes of Cycling Accidents

By Steph Walsh in Bicycle Accidents on June 06, 2024

5 Common Causes of Cycling Accidents

Bicycling is not only a common way to commute to and from work, but many do so to relax and have fun. For some, it’s a quick cycle around the block, while others enjoy an all-day hiking expedition. Either way, bikes are fun, but they come with risks. Our Hamilton bicycle accident lawyers have seen many accidents and injuries over the years—from mild to severe and devastating. 

Bicycles lack the protection and safety features of cars, putting cyclists at a much higher risk of injury or even death should an accident occur – around 73% of fatal cycling collisions in Canada involve a motor vehicle.

Serious bicycle accidents can cause immense physical, emotional, and financial hardships, especially when children are involved. Financial compensation addresses the losses and damages experienced, covering medical expenses, ongoing care, therapy, lost wages or future earning capacity, and emotional distress. For children, the impact can be particularly devastating, requiring specialized care and long-term support. Compensation helps ensure that the injured party and their family receive the necessary resources to navigate the challenges posed by the accident and rebuild their lives.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident caused by a careless or negligent motorist in Hamilton or anywhere in Ontario, our dedicated team is here to help. Contact us today at 1-844-LALANDE or 905-333-8888, send us a confidential email through our website. Our Hamilton Bicycle Accident Lawyers are committed to helping you recover justice in your time of need.

5 Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents 

While bicycle accidents can happen in many ways, here are the five most common causes of bicycle accidents seen by our Hamilton bicycle accident lawyers


“Dooring” is a major hazard for cyclists, often resulting in serious injuries or even fatalities. This type of accident occurs when a driver or passenger opens their vehicle door directly into the path of an oncoming cyclist, leaving little to no time for the cyclist to react and avoid colliding. Dooring incidents happen most often in urban areas where street parking is prevalent or bicycle lanes are too close to parked cars.

Several factors contribute to the high frequency of dooring accidents. For example, many drivers and passengers fail to check mirrors and blind spots before opening their doors, often due to distraction or lack of awareness. Additionally, some cyclists end up riding too close to parked vehicles. This may be due to narrow bike lanes or attempts to avoid other road hazards, increasing the risk of a dooring incident.

The consequences of dooring can be severe for cyclists. The sudden impact can cause riders to be thrown from their bikes, potentially striking the door, the ground, or other nearby objects. This can lead to a range of injuries, including lacerations, fractures, head trauma, and even spinal cord damage. In some cases, cyclists may also be thrown into the path of oncoming traffic, further increasing the risk of catastrophic injuries or death.

Right Turns

Right turns by vehicles pose a significant threat to cyclists, often leading to serious accidents and injuries. These collisions occur when a driver turns right at an intersection or into a driveway and fails to yield to a cyclist travelling straight in a bike lane or on the right side of the road. This scenario is particularly dangerous because drivers often underestimate the speed of approaching cyclists and misjudge the time needed to complete the turn safely.

There are several reasons why these accidents are so common. For example, many drivers focus primarily on watching oncoming traffic from the left before turning right, neglecting to check their right side for cyclists or pedestrians. Additionally, some drivers may misjudge a cyclist’s speed and not realize their turn will result in a collision. Drivers may also fail to signal their turn, giving cyclists little to no time to react and avoid hitting them.

The results of right-turn accidents can be devastating for the victims. When a vehicle strikes a cyclist during a right turn, the rider may be thrown from their bike, potentially hitting the ground, the vehicle, or anything else in the vicinity. This can result in a range of injuries, including road rash, bruises, fractured bones, and head trauma. In some cases, cyclists may become trapped beneath the turning vehicle, leading to crush injuries or even fatalities.

Intersection Accidents

Intersection accidents are another common and equally dangerous type of collision involving cyclists and drivers. These accidents occur when drivers don’t yield the right-of-way to cyclists at intersections. This often happens due to distraction, inattention, or misjudgment of the cyclist’s speed and distance by the driver. Cyclists are particularly vulnerable in these situations because they are smaller and less visible than other vehicles, and drivers may not expect them to cross their path.

These accidents tend to result from drivers running red lights or stop signs, turning without checking for cyclists, or failing to signal their intentions. Cyclists can also contribute to these accidents by not following traffic laws themselves, failing to signal their turns and intentions, or riding dangerously and unpredictably.

The consequences of intersection accidents can be severe, ranging from minor scrapes and bruises to serious head injuries, spinal cord damage, or even death. Cyclists can be thrown from their bikes, strike other vehicles or objects, or become trapped under a vehicle, leading to life-altering injuries.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is a growing concern for cyclist safety as more drivers frequently engage in activities that take their attention away from the road. This includes cell phones, GPS devices, eating, and other non-driving tasks. Distracted driving can occur when a driver physically takes their hand(s) off the wheel to do something else, but that’s not the only way. Anything that pulls a driver’s eyes and/or mind away from the road instantly makes them more dangerous. When drivers are distracted, they are less likely to notice cyclists on the road, thus increasing the risk of a collision.

Distracted drivers may also drift into bike lanes, fail to yield the right-of-way, or not see cyclists until it’s too late. Diverting attention away from the road also increases the risk of speeding and/or running a red light or stop sign. All of this poses an increased danger to cyclists on the same road as distracted drivers.

Distracted driving can lead to devastating and life-threatening results for everyone involved – though cyclists are far more vulnerable than drivers and passengers. When a distracted driver strikes a cyclist, the rider can fall from their bike, hitting the vehicle, the ground, pedestrians, or anything else in their path.

This leads to a range of injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, broken bones, and internal organ damage. In some cases, cyclists are dragged by the vehicle or trapped underneath it, leading to more severe or even fatal injuries.

Unsafe Passing by Motorists

Unsafe passing by motorists is a significant threat to cyclist safety, particularly on roads with high-speed traffic or limited space for cyclists. When drivers pass too closely to cyclists, they risk hitting them with their side mirrors or causing them to lose control of their bikes from the force of the passing vehicle. This tends to happen when drivers underestimate the cyclist’s speed or fail to provide enough space when passing.

Drivers who do not understand or follow safe passing laws, misjudge the space needed to pass safely, or become impatient behind slower-moving cyclists all contribute to unsafe passing accidents. In addition to losing control and falling, the cyclist can be thrown into oncoming traffic or other hazards on the side of the road. This increases the risk of injury and potentially involves even more people in the accident.

The injuries resulting from unsafe passing accidents are often severe, ranging from bruises and road rash to broken bones, head trauma, and spinal cord damage. If cyclists are struck by oncoming traffic after being forced off the road, this can lead to even more catastrophic or even fatal injuries.

The Most Severe Bicycle Accident Injuries

There is potential for almost any injury in a bicycle accident, especially when a motor vehicle is involved. However, it’s generally the most severe injuries that impact your life, sometimes permanently. Consequences can even extend beyond physical and emotional, creating great financial strain. This is why hiring a good Hamilton bicycle accident lawyer is important to maintain the support you need.

The most severe bicycle accident injuries include:

Traumatic Brain Injuries

Bicycle accidents can result in severe traumatic brain injuries (TBI) that have life-altering consequences. In the worst cases, victims may suffer from permanent cognitive impairments, memory loss, personality changes, and physical disabilities.

They may never regain the ability to work, maintain relationships, or lead independent lives. The impact extends beyond the individual, as families face emotional turmoil and significant financial burdens. Under the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule, these injuries may be designated as catastrophic, entitling victims to enhanced benefits.

However, the economic losses, including lost income, ongoing medical expenses, and long-term care costs, can be staggering. Families may endure their own losses, including reduced earning capacity and the profound emotional toll of caring for a loved one who may never be the same person they once were.

Spinal Cord Injuries

A spinal cord injury (SCI) is a catastrophic event that can have devastating physical, social, and psychological consequences. The sudden onset of an SCI often leads to severe negative emotions that can impede both psychological and social integration if not properly addressed. Coping with an SCI demands tremendous resilience to develop new strengths and ways of doing things emotionally, socially, and vocationally.

While each individual’s personality and coping mechanisms uniquely influence their adjustment, SCIs are generally categorized as either paraplegia or quadriplegia (also known as tetraplegia). Paraplegia refers to paralysis affecting the legs and lower body, with arm and hand function remaining intact, due to damage to the thoracic, lumbar or sacral spinal cord regions. In contrast, quadriplegia is paralysis impacting all four limbs – the arms, hands, trunk, legs and pelvic organs – resulting from cervical (neck) spinal cord damage. Quadriplegia tends to cause greater functional limitations than paraplegia because of the additional loss of arm and hand function. However, both conditions significantly alter an individual’s mobility and independence, requiring substantial physical and psychosocial adaptation.

In addition to the profound physical and emotional challenges, SCI also imposes an immense financial burden on the affected individual and their family. The lifetime cost of care for someone with SCI can reach millions of dollars, encompassing expenses such as acute medical treatment, rehabilitation, assistive devices, home modifications, and ongoing healthcare needs.

Many individuals with SCI require extensive personal assistance and may be unable to return to their previous employment, leading to a loss of income. The combination of staggering medical expenses and reduced earning potential can result in financial devastation for families already grappling with the life-altering consequences of the injury. The financial stress compounds the psychological toll of SCI, making it even more crucial to provide comprehensive support and resources to help individuals and families navigate this challenging journey.

Internal Injuries

Internal injuries are another serious and potentially catastrophic result of bicycle accidents. These injuries are also a little different in that they may not be immediately apparent at the scene of the crash. When a cyclist is hit by a vehicle or thrown off their bike, the force of the impact can cause serious damage to internal organs such as the lungs, liver, spleen, or kidneys.

Symptoms of internal injuries can include pain, tenderness, or swelling in the abdomen, chest pain, difficulty breathing, or bloody urine. In more serious cases, internal bleeding can lead to shock, organ failure, or even death if not treated promptly.

Internal damage must never be taken lightly. It requires extensive medical treatment and often surgery to recover from. Even after initial treatment, ongoing monitoring is crucial in case of complications. Survivors tend to face a lengthy recovery process and may experience ongoing health problems related to their injuries. This impacts quality of life and becomes quite costly – both in terms of ongoing treatment and loss of income.

Hurt in a Bicycle Accident? Call our Hamilton Bicycle Accident Lawyers Today. We’ve recovered over $60MM for accident victims Provincewide.

If you or a loved one have been involved in a serious bicycle accident, we can help. Since 2003, we have represented bicycle accident victims all over Ontario and recovered millions of dollars in compensation on their behalf. You can reach us from anywhere in Canada at 1-844-LALANDE. For those local or in the Southern Ontario Region, you can call us at 905-333-8888. Alternatively, you can email us confidentially through our website, and we will be happy to reach out and schedule a time to speak with you or your loved one.



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