This weekend, thousands of participants will strap on their helmets and peddle their way up the Gardiner Expressway and Don Valley Parkway in support of the Becel Heart & Stroke Ride for Heart.
Participants are invariably asked to fill out a waiver, promising not to sue the organizers for any reason. But what about the other participants?
In 2008, an accident between two cyclists at the Ride for Heart resulted in legal proceedings (Kempf et al v Nguyen, 2015 ONCA 114), and the injured (plaintiff) cyclist sued the other (defendant) cyclist for allegedly negligently causing the accident/injuries.
The defendant relied on two main defences. First, the defendant said that the plaintiff cyclist had voluntarily assumed the risk of the ride. Second, the defendant said that the plaintiff cyclist was also negligent.
Both defences failed, and the trial judge found the defendant cyclist responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries.
Although the Court of Appeal allowed the appeal and ordered a new trial, they did so not on the basis that the trial judge was wrong in finding the defendant responsible, but on the technical ground that the trial judge improperly struck a jury notice.
The accident in this case happened when the defendant’s rear wheel clipped the plaintiff’s front wheel while the plaintiff was attempting to move in beside the defendant.
Always take care while cycling on the road, but especially in a packed race like the Ride for Heart. You never know who will be ready to sue when you accidentally clip someone’s tire!