Articles Posted in Bicycle Accident

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The snow has melted. The sun is shinning (sometimes); and the weather is getting less miserable. It’s time to go outside and enjoy the fresh air.

For many, the turn of seasons from winter to spring, means riding your bike to work. In fact, from May 29-June 30, 2017, it’s Bike Month! The City of Toronto hosted a Ride your Bike to work day on May 29th to kick off Bike Month. Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday during Bike Month, Cycle Toronto will be hosting commuter outreach stations along busy cycling routes all around the city. You can stop by to get a free Bike Month 2017 branded tote bag full of giveaways from one of their official partners.

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Did summer hit, or is it just me? With a quick snap of the fingers, we’re already in June with some fantastic weather. I’ll take it after a long, cold winter.

When we get nicer weather in Ontario, people are more inclined to ride their motorcycles and bikes. The rules of the road and the way personal injury law works in Ontario for motorcyclist and cyclists can get a bit tricky…but it shouldn’t.

The purpose of this Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog Post is to examine the law and how it relates to accidents involving motorcycles and bikes, and how this can differ (or be the same) from your normal car accident case.

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I was at our Peterborough Office at 380 Armour Rd in the East City today. En-route, it began to snow. Like real, hard core snow.

Confession: I had my snow tires removed 3 weeks ago. With temperatures below freezing in Peterborough and the Kawarthas, I could have benefited from keeping those snow tires on just a bit longer.

In any event, I will make a Goldfinger Guarantee that the weather will get warmer, and we will all finally have an opportunity to get outside and feel a bit more active.

The “activity” part of this Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog Post segues (pronounced seg-ways) nicely in to this week’s topic; top bicycling safety tips for Ontario cyclists. We usually publish some bike safety tips when Spring is around the corner because we know know much people love to get out there and be active. Whether you cycle everyday for your commute to work in a big city like Toronto or London; or you enjoy a weekend ride on the country roads outside of Peterborough and the Kawarthas, these tips will ensure that you’ve done everything you can to stay safe.

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Bike safety is becoming a “sexy” and “on trend” topic for municipal and provincial politicians for a variety of reasons. Governments can’t afford to ignore cyclists. They can’t afford to ignore motorists either.

Ontario has pledged $25 million dollars for bike infrastructure over the next 3 years. Where’s that money going to come from? I don’t know. Do you think that the Liberals will get enough support to pass that through a budget? Another excellent question.

That cycling money is for the entire province. That means that every municipality will be fighting for a piece of that provincial money. Toronto will of course want the lion’s share of that money so that they can accommodate the hundreds of thousands of cyclists who take to the roads every day. London, Brampton, Mississauga, Peterborough, Lindsay, Sudbury, Richmond Hill, Vaughan. You name the Ontario Municipality. They will want a piece of that provincial bike lane money.

Will $25 million of provincial money adequately finance Ontario’s cycling needs? Will $25 million in provincial money keep cyclists and motorists safe from accident?
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A psychiatrist friend of mine innocently teased me for a Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog Post back in October 2013 on “dooring” epidemic that was facing cyclists in many of Canada’s largest cities (and the smaller ones too!).

Here is a link to that Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog Post, along with a video to Peter Mansbridge explaining on The National exactly what dooring is, and how it’s putting cyclists at risk of injury.

If you’ve never heard of “dooring“, basically, it’s when a car door opens directly in to the path of a passing cyclist, thereby causing the cyclist to hit the door or swerve out of control and result in serious injury.

I guess I was ahead of the curve. Recently, the Ontario government introduced the “Keeping Ontarios’ Roads Safe Act” (what a name!). One of the significant provisions of the Act was to increase fines for dooring from $60-$500, up to a range of $300-$1,000. It would also see demerit points raise from 2 to 3 points.

Imagine that, getting hit with a $1,000 fine and 3 demerit points for just trying to get out of your car and accidentally dooring a passing cyclist. You weren’t even driving! Your car was likely off, with keys in hand for such an offense. It’s not just motorists who drive that cause accidents. They’re caused in all sorts of ways.

In any event, to my psychiatrist friend who teased me over a year ago for writing about dooring and advocating for increased cyclists’ rights, I say eat my words (in a friendly tone of course). Always a trailblazer on these issues.

But, there’s much more to the Keeping Ontario’s Roads Safe Act which you should know about. In particular, when it comes to fines for distracted driving.
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Cycling is cool. It’s not expensive. It’s fast. It’s healthy. You don’t need a license or insurance to ride. It’s better for the environment. It’s “on trend” in today’s global urban market. And if you’re smart, you can accessorize with a flashy (yet safe) helmet and make all of your peers jealous.

But cycling accidents aren’t cool. They hurt. In an accident involving car vs. bike, it doesn’t take a forensic engineer to understand why the cyclist will usually come out with the most serious injuries. 600lb car vs. 20lb bike? Brain Injury, broken bones, fractured ribs, road rash aren’t uncommon. Some of the most catastrophic accidents we see at our law firm involve cyclists.

Space to operate cars and bikes on urban Canadian streets is coming at a premium. With so many commuters operating in close quarters, accidents are bound to happen.

We’ve seen a new phenomenon of late. The term “dooring” is entering the personal injury lexicon. Never heard of dooring? That’s ok. It’s a relatively new word.

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Kudos to University of Toronto PhD candiate, Adrian Verster for crunching the numbers and compiling a list of the 50 most dangerous intersections in Toronto for cyclists.

Haven’t seen the list? Here’s a link to Mr. Verster’s website. Here’s a link to a great article from the Toronto Star on the study.

Lakeshore and Carlaw is the most dangerous intersection according to these figures. Queen St. W at Niagara Street is #2 on the list.

His site starts off with a commentary stating that as a cyclist, it is “quite frightening at times with all the traffic“. I agree 100% with that comment. It can get scary out there! And I’m not saying that because I’m a personal injury lawyer, recreational cyclist and I see the worst of the worst in my field. I’m saying that because it’s dangerous out there for cyclists, regardless of the city.

A lot of our clients have been seriously injured in bike accidents. Some of the most serious injuries our law firm has seen have come as a result of bike accidents. But, it’s important to note that not all of our clients are from Toronto. Bike accidents don’t discriminate age, time of accident, city or intersection. Meaning, just because you avoid these intersections, or you don`t cycle in Toronto, or do so at quiet hours doesn’t mean that your reducing the likelihood of getting involved in a bike accident.

All it takes is one driver not seeing a cyclist, not paying attention, or veering slightly to the curb and that’s enought to cause a bike accident. The car doesn’t even need to come in contact with the bike. If the car veering to the curb causes the bike to also veer to the curb, then the bike makes contact with the curb causing the cyclist to lost control: there you go; accident. Not pretty.
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This month’s November 2012 issue of Toronto LIfe Magazine tried to make the case for making wearing bike helmets the law. The compairison was made that driving your car without a seatbelt is ludicrous and has been made law. Then why not mandate riding your bike while wearing a helmet? Both save lives. Both make complete sense. I couldn’t agree more with Toronto Life. The article isn’t yet available online, but if you pick up the November 2012 edition of Toronto Life, you can read all about it. Pretty interesting article for cyclists and for personal injury lawyers alike.

In case you didn’t know, helmets are NOT mandatory for all cyclists. They’re only mandatory for cyclists who are under the age of 18. So, if you’re older than 18, you get to make your own choice. To wear a bike helmet or to not wear a bike helmet. The choice is yours. But to me, there shouldn’t be a choice whatsoever. Bike helmets should be mandatory and here’s why…
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Former Attorney General Michael Bryant is back in the news with the release of his new book 28 Seconds, A True Story of Addiction, Injustice and Tragedy. Notice how the “Tragedy” part in the title is last? The “tragedy” part should be first, because for those of you who have been following this story, it’s a tragedy for all those involved.

For those of who who haven’t been following, Michael Bryant’s story has fascinated those in the legal community; particularly the criminal bar and personal injury lawyers. His case is arguably the highest profile bike accident case in Toronto’s history. Never heard about it? Well, here it is in a nutshell.
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On August 6, 2012, Toronto cyclist Joseph Mavecs was riding his bike on St. Clair Avenue near Wychwood. He was riding without a bike helmet. He had a bag of groceries on the handle bars. As he was trying to make a left hand turn from St. Clair onto Wychwood, his bike tires became lodged in the exposed streetcar tracks on the roadway. Mr. Mavecs then flew off his bike, and hit his head on the pavement. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

If you’ve ever rode a bike, or driven a car on Toronto’s streets south of Bloor, you’ll quickly notice a few things. Firstly, the streets are congested with cars, bikes, pedestrians, parked deliverly trucks, construction closures, road maintenance, poodles etc. You name it; Toronto has it. Secondly, you”ll notice that there are a variety of exposed street car tracks. These tracks are used by the TTC. Some lines have been out of service for a long long time.
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