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Does NOT Wearing a Helmet Affect Your Personal Injury Case in Ontario?

Cycling is an excellent way to stay active and get around the city. However, since cyclists often share the road with motor vehicles, there’s always the risk of accident or injury.

Did you or someone you know get injured in a bicycle accident while riding without a helmet? Are you wondering if failure to wear proper head protection could affect your right to claim compensation for your damages? Here’s an overview of what you need to know.

a group of cyclists cross a bridge without helmets


Although wearing a helmet can greatly reduce the risk of injury or death if you fall off your bike or collide with a car, pedestrian, or fellow cyclist, you aren’t legally required to wear one if you’re 18 or older. However, by law, cyclists under the age of 18 must wear an approved bicycle helmet. Therefore, if you’re under 18 and were injured in an accident while not wearing a helmet, it could impact your claim for compensation.


Although Ontario has a no-fault accident benefits system, failing to obey the helmet law could affect your case. This is due to the contributory negligence tort rule, which refers to an injured person’s degree of responsibility for their own injuries. The other party involved in the incident might be able to argue that you wouldn't have sustained your injuries if you had been wearing a helmet. For example, the court could determine that, because you weren’t wearing a helmet, you’re 50 per cent responsible for your own injuries, effectively reducing your claim for compensation by half. That’s why it’s crucial to hire a personal injury lawyer if you’re injured in a cycling accident. They’ll take every aspect of your case into consideration and defend your rights if the other party tries to make misleading claims.


Keep in mind that cyclists are given significant legal protection as they’re considered vulnerable road users and aren’t protected by an enclosed vehicle. When determining fault, the Highway Traffic Act (HTA) applies and sets out a reverse onus. This means the motorist is presumed to be at fault unless proven otherwise; it becomes the driver’s responsibility to prove non-negligence.


If you’ve been injured in an accident while cycling, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Fortunately, the team of lawyers at Feifel Gualazzi can help. We have extensive experience representing clients in personal injury cases throughout Sault Ste. Marie and the surrounding Algoma District. Contact us for a free consultation or to find out if you have a case.


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