My young child was hit by a car while riding his bike – who is at fault?

  • Very young children cannot be held legally responsible for their actions
  • The question is whether the child exercised the care to be expected from a child of similar age, intelligence and experience
  • Children are more prone to distraction than adults so a momentary lapse of awareness will be tolerated and not lead to legal responsibility

In Connell v. Dyck the 8 year old cyclist was of above-average intelligence.  He had been riding a bike since age 5 or 6, and had training in the rules of the road both at school and at home.  However, on this day he rode his bike down the side of a main road, then without looking, turned left in front of a motorcycle. 

The judge decided that the child was 35% at fault.  He was old enough that he could be legally responsible for his actions.  This was not a case where there was a momentary lapse of attention, distraction or error in judgment. 

The motorist was 65% at fault.  The motorist was familiar with the area and knew the busy road was used by children.  He saw the cyclist on one side of the road and his 11 year old sister on the other side.  He had honked and slowed when he was some distance away.  However, given the obvious youth of the child, his position on the edge of the pavement, the quietness of the motorcycle and the presence of another child on the other side of the road, the motorist should have slowed even more and sounded his horn until he could see that the boy was aware of the motorcycle’s presence.

When a bicycle collision involves a young child, you need experience on your side.  We can help.  Contact us.

Read the case:  Connell v. Dyck

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