Cyclists at Risk of Injury from Road Rage Incidents
If road rage is directed at a cyclist by another road user, resulting in that cyclist sustaining an injury, then there could be grounds for a personal injury claim.
Road rage directed at cyclists
Road rage is a grim reality that most cyclists have faced at some point on the roads. Drivers have been known to honk, make verbal threats and make rude hand gestures. Sometimes, this behaviour escalates to such an extent that a cyclist is physically harmed. This might happen if a driver intentionally cuts a cyclist up, knocks them, drives too close or drives in the bike lane.
Cyclists who have experienced this kind of behaviour are often left completely outraged that a person could endanger another human’s life in this way. One study even found that motorists dehumanize cyclists, seeing them not as people but as frustrating obstacles that are getting in their way. For many cyclists, this theory will ring true.
Drivers might try to defend their actions, saying that the cyclist was causing a nuisance, breaking a traffic regulation or getting in their way. But this is no defence. There is no valid excuse for acting aggressively towards a cyclist, regardless of what the cyclist was or was not doing. That isn’t just our opinion: it’s also that of the British Columbia Supreme Court.
Davies vs Elton
Indeed, back in 2015, the B.C. Supreme Court made a ruling in relation to road rage case involving a driver and a cyclist. The case involved a 77-year-old man who was cycling near Richmond with his son. They were cycling in a bike lane when the Plaintiff’s son commented that the wing mirror of a parked truck was extending into the bike lane.
The Defendant heard the comment, got into his truck and drove after the two cyclists with the intention of confronting them. He pulled up alongside them and rolled down his window. He began to heckle them, during which time the Plaintiff was leaning on the vehicle. The Defendant then abruptly drove off, causing the Plaintiff to crash into the curb.
The Supreme Court found that the Defendant’s behaviour was aggressive, meaning his standard of driving fell below that expected of a reasonable and competent driver. The Defendant was therefore negligent, and this directly caused the Plaintiff to suffer an injury. Had it not been for the Defendant’s road rage, an accident would never have occurred.
Have you been injured as a cyclist?
Unfortunately, it seems that cyclists are especially at risk of road rage incidents. Some drivers are unwilling to share the roads and are quick to direct anger towards cyclists. Yet as the aforementioned study shows, motorists sometimes forget that cyclists are humans – and vulnerable ones at that.
As the B.C. Supreme Court said: “Confrontation creates a serious risk of harm to the cyclist which is way out of proportion to anything the cyclist might have done. A driver of a motor vehicle is not entitled to impose a penalty of death or serious bodily harm on a cyclist just because the cyclist was rude or broke a traffic rule.”
So, if you’ve been injured while cycling because of a road rage incident and you’re wondering what to do next, the answer is: contact us now. There is no justification for the driver’s behaviour. If you have suffered a physical injury, you deserve all the financial support available.
Specialists in bike accidents
We are a specialist personal injury law firm in Vancouver with a vested interest in helping cyclists. Founder and senior lawyer John Mickelson is a keen cyclist himself and knows the risks cyclists face. If you have been injured while cycling in British Columbia through no fault of your own, we can help you.Go back to Blog