Failure to wear a bike helmet undermines cyclist’s credibility

A cyclist’s failure to wear his bicycle helmet undermined his credibility in the in the October 4th decision of Davis v. Jeyaratnam, 2019 BCSC 1698. This was a claim by a cyclist for damages as a result of being hit on his bicycle by the defendant’s car. Virtually every aspect of the accident was disputed, including whether the defendants even hit the cyclist at all.

The cyclist claimed that he was in the bike lane on Broadway, in Vancouver, when he was hit by the defendants’ car. He said that the defendants were on Broadway, coming in the other direction, when they made a left turn and t-boned him.

The defendants denied this. They said that the cyclist was on the sidewalk, not in the bike lane as he should have been. They also denied that they actually hit him.

In deciding who to believe, the court noted:

[136] Mr. Davis’ counsel contends that Mr. Davis’ evidence should be accepted because there is “no doubt” that he would have used a marked bike lane while riding his bicycle along Broadway Avenue. However, Mr. Davis has indicated a distinct inclination for not following rules when he sees fit and when it is advantageous for him. Among other things, Mr. Davis’ clear violation of s. 184 of the Act in not wearing a helmet is a clear example.

The claim against these defendants was ultimately dismissed.

You should, of course, always wear a helmet when bicycling. As a personal injury lawyer I have seen, again and again, how safety devices such as seatbelts and helmets really DO save lives. In addition to saving your life, there is the possibility that your willingness to ignore the requirement to wear a helmet may hurt your credibility if you have to go to court.

Kevin Cantelon is a senior lawyer at Collaborative Law Corporation and assists clients with personal injury and ICBC cases.