City ordered to pay after Halifax Transit bus ran over passenger’s bicycle in 2019

A Halifax Transit bus arrives at a terminal in Dartmouth, N.S. on Wednesday, July 17, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

The Halifax Regional Municipality has been ordered to pay a resident to replace a bicycle that fell off a Halifax Transit bus in 2019.

The court documents say a resident, Curtis Heddon, caught a bus on Route 330 that travels to Sheldrake Lake and Tantallon, N.S., and travels on the highway for a portion of the trip.

Heddon secured his bicycle onto the rack on the front of the bus before getting on the bus.

“He gave the bicycle a firm shake to ensure it was secure. It was. He then boarded the bus, which then departed,” read the documents.

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It says just before Exit 5 on Highway 103, there were two bumps on the road. “These bumps have been there for some time — they were not new,” court documents stated.

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As the bus drove over the bumps at “at least highways speed,” the driver noticed that the rear wheel of the bicycle was leaning over, and began to move the bus to the right-hand lane with the intention of pulling over and re-securing the bike.

However, before the driver could pull over, the bike fell off the bus and the bus ran over it, according to the documents.

Once the bus was pulled over, Heddon took photos of the damage and returned to the bus with the bike in hand. “The damage was severe enough to make it a write off,” the documents read.

A few days later, a Halifax Transit bus mechanic inspected the bicycle rack and found that a rubber bump stop was gone and had a bolt with nuts installed in its place, according to the court.

“There was nothing on the bus in question suggesting that use of the rack was at the owner’s risk. Nor is there any such notice on the test rack that customers can use to learn how to use the racks on HRM buses,” the documents said.

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The court then concluded that the HRM is liable for the damage to Heddon’s bicycle.

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“The only conclusion I can come to based on such facts is that the stop-gap substitution of the bolt and nuts for the rubber stop rendered the bike rack susceptible to what happened — that is, a bicycle that would otherwise be secure coming loose when experiencing a bumpy ride,” said adjudicator Augustus Richardson in the documents.

Heddon claimed $1,600 for the damages of his bicycle, as the bicycle was “virtually brand new” when it was destroyed. However, he could only prove a quote of $1,076.23, which is the cost of replacement for the bicycle.

The court ordered the HRM to pay Heddon the quoted amount and an additional $100, or $1,176.23 in total.

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