Over a million people in Ontario are estimated to ride their bikes on a daily basis, and while it is great to “leave the car at home”, an increased number of bicycles on the road means an increased risk in the number of bicycle accidents.
Bicycle rentals in cities like Toronto, combined with a greater number of bicycle couriers means that both cyclists and motor vehicle drivers need to take extra care in ensuring safer roads. Rules state that drivers must now leave a minimum of a metre of space when passing a cyclist. Drivers also face stiff fines for opening their door in front of a passing cyclist. This is such a common occurrence that there is even a name for it—called “dooring”. The results of dooring can be tragic for a cyclist who can be caught off guard when a door flies open in front of his moving bicycle causing a tragic fall.
According to the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) website, 7,500 cyclists are seriously injured each year. According to statistics quoted on www.caa.ca citing Statistics Canada and Transport Canada, “cyclists are most likely to be killed or injured at an intersection or where there are traffic signals or controls. Most bicycle injuries or crashes occur during the afternoon rush hour and one out of three deaths occurs at night or when there is artificial light. Sixty four percent of deaths to cyclists involved in traffic crashes occurred on city roads.” Source: www.caa.ca/cyclists/bicyclestatistics.
Dooring is of great concern to both cyclists and drivers, caused when a driver opens their door in front of a passing cyclist. The cyclist, due to traffic and the instantaneous occurrence, can fly over the car door and be seriously injured. Drivers should always check their side mirror and do a shoulder check before opening their door, while cyclists should be on the lookout for people who have just pulled into a parking spot, or people sitting in parked cars who may open their door at any time.
Road and weather conditions also create hazards for cyclists (and drivers) with the number of cyclists who ride their bikes to work or school in the fall, winter or early spring. As with drivers, cyclists may slip or slide or have difficulty seeing due to poor visibility. Other road hazards include potholes and uneven pavement.
Every year, cyclists sustain injuries including broken bones or fractures, lacerations, abrasions, internal bleeding or injuries as well as life-altering injuries such as catastrophic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries and even paralysis. In one moment a person’s life can be forever changed as a result of an accident. Catastrophic accidents may result in a loss of income and ongoing medical and rehabilitative care.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a cycling accident with a motor vehicle, you are entitled to claim No Fault Accident Benefits, regardless of who is at fault. It is common that a cyclist may not own a car or have access to automobile insurance, and in this case, the injured party can claim No Fault Benefits from the insurance company of the vehicle involved in the accident. Legal action against the party responsible through a tort claim may also be pursued by a cyclist injured in the accident, but this must be done within two years from the day the accident occurred. (The cyclist has just seven days to notify the No-fault Insurer of the accident). It is advised to seek the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to advance your claim.
At Horowitz Injury Law we have nearly 35 years’ experience in helping people who have been injured in cycling accidents to receive the compensation they deserve under the law. Call us today for a free consultation at 416-925-4100.