The fact that bicyclists have none of the protection vehicle drivers have makes them extremely vulnerable on British Columbia roads. Even with wearing helmets, victims of bicycle accidents can suffer catastrophic or even fatal injuries when struck by cars. Distracted or impaired vehicle operators cause a significant percentage of recorded bike accidents every year.
The classic British reply to the question, "how are you?" is "all weather and traffic," usually delivered with a heavy sigh, whereby everyone gets the picture. That's just what's happening in British Columbia this winter, as motorists encounter hazardous road conditions. Still, these above-average snowfalls haven't discouraged cyclists who persist -- like the Pony Express -- through wind, rain, sleet or snow to their destinations. Unfortunately, such a scenario may set the scene for a cyclist being hit by a driver.
Many residential neighbourhoods have signs posted reminding drivers to slow down for local children who may be playing, cycling or simply walking along a sidewalk. The signs are part and parcel of the preventive measures British Columbia homeowners take to protect their homes and communities from big city perils such as car or bicycle accidents. When homeowners, however, take the law into their own hands, they risk jeopardizing their own safety and the lives of those around them.
British Columbia cyclists negotiating big city streets need to be alert and knowledgeable about road regulations. Experienced cyclists can develop a sixth sense as to whether the drivers around them are aware of their presence, which can significantly reduce their odds of being involved in bicycle accidents. Sometimes drivers may notice a cyclist looking into their side mirror right at them. The cyclist is checking to see if the driver has checked that mirror and has seen him or her.
As the weather changes, cyclists will take to the British Columbia roads. Unfortunately, as in any other year, many victims of bicycle accidents will likely land in hospitals with injuries that could be traumatic. Cyclists have very little protection, and when they are struck by vehicles, the injuries are usually severe.
Many British Columbia residents have likely pulled their bicycles out the garage after the recent spring equinox. Along with the health advantages of travelling by bicycle, it is also an environmentally friendly transportation method. However, it comes with many dangers, and, as with vehicle drivers, cyclists must know and obey the rules of the road to avoid bicycle accidents.
Everyone using British Columbia roads must comply with applicable laws, and compliance by all will likely limit injuries and deaths resulting from crashes. However, the injuries suffered by victims of bicycle accidents are often more severe than those suffered by car crash victims. Authorities say if vehicle operators and cyclists watch out for each other, they could avoid a significant percentage of collisions.
Cyclists in British Columbia will always be vulnerable, and even more so at this time of the year when visibility may be a problem. Bicycle riders have hardly any protection against the weight of a negligent driver's vehicle on impact. When six cyclists went for a ride on a recent Sunday morning, none of them could have anticipated that they would be hit by a driver from Burnaby -- with devastating consequences.