Nova Scotia is one of Canada’s most beautiful provinces, and so it’s no wonder that we have so many cyclists. Whether you’re biking to work in the HRM, using a bike to avoid traffic during the Annapolis Valley’s Apple Blossom celebrations, or you’re enjoying the sights of Cape Breton on two wheels, it’s vital that you stay safe when out cycling.

The best way to stay safe is to be aware of your surroundings and to follow the rules of the road. These laws were put in place to protect all road users, including cyclists and reduce deadly accidents. Even if you follow all of the rules you can still find yourself in a dangerous situation, but we’ll cover what to do should something happen while out cycling below.

What are Nova Scotia’s Rules of the Road for Cyclists?

The rules of the road don’t just apply to cyclists. They also tell drivers of motor vehicles how to share the road with a cyclist. As a cyclist, make sure you follow the rules; not only will you be safe, but in the event of an accident you will less likely to be at fault.

The rules of the road for cyclists in Nova Scotia are as follows:

  • Cyclists must ride in bicycle lanes if one is available. The one exception to this is when there is any obstruction in the bike lane, then you may leave the lane to circumvent the obstacle, but you must return to the lane after passing.
  • In cases where there is no bike lane, cyclists must ride as far to the right-hand side of the road as possible.
  • Cyclists must ride in the same direction as traffic.
  • Cyclists must ride in single file except when passing one another.
  • Cyclists are not permitted to ride on the sidewalk unless they are under 16.
  • Cyclists must walk their bikes through a crosswalk rather than ride them.
  • Cyclists must wear a certified safety helmet. These are helmets that clip under the chin.
  • You may only have one person per bike unless it was built for more than one.
  • Cyclists are not allowed to hitch their bikes to a car while riding.
  • Cyclists cannot take their hands off the bicycle or attempt any bike tricks while riding on a highway.
  • Cyclists must obey the road signs and follow the traffic rules the same as if they were driving a motor vehicle.

The following rules are for drivers of motor vehicles:

  • Drivers of motor vehicles are not allowed to drive in bicycle lanes.
  • Drivers can not park their vehicles in a bike lane.
  • Drivers are required to stay one meter away from a cyclist at all times. Because of the one-meter rule, motor vehicles may not pass a cyclist unless they have enough space to give them a meter of room from the side of their car.
  • Motor vehicles are allowed to cross the center line when passing a cyclist.

What Should I Do if I’m in a Cycling Accident?

Getting in an accident can be incredibly disorienting. However, follow these steps after getting into a bicycle accident.

  • Stay calm and try to move around as little as possible. Movement could cause injuries to worsen.
  • Call 911 and wait for the police to arrive.
  • Stay on the scene.
  • Do not disturb the scene of the accident except to clear a roadway for safety purposes. 
  • Obtain medical attention if necessary.
  • Take photos of the scene, making sure to get shots of any damage.
  • Cooperate with the police, telling them exactly what happened to the best of your recollection.
  • Get the name of the police officer you speak with, as well as the police report number if there is one. 
  • Get emails and phone numbers from witnesses.
  • Obtain insurance and contact information with the driver.

What to do Once You Leave the Scene

After you leave the scene of the accident you should:

  • Seek medical attention if required. 
  • Call a lawyer.
  • Do not speak to any insurance representatives until you have spoken to a lawyer. 
  • Apply for no fault accident benefits insurance if you require medical treatment or you cannot work. 
  • Keep a diary.
  • Write a detailed statement about the accident for your lawyer.

Where Can I Find a Lawyer to Help with My Bicycle Accident?

If you have been in a cycling accident, then a lawyer will be an invaluable ally on your road to compensation. We here at McKiggan Hebert are well-versed in bicycle laws and know how to help you achieve the justice you deserve. Give us a call at (902) 423-2050 to see how we can help today.