The summer of 2016 was a dangerous one for cyclists in Toronto. Between June 1 and late September, 514 cyclists were hit by vehicles, resulting in one death and numerous injuries. Combined, more than three-thousand cyclists and pedestrians collisions were reported in Toronto last year.
Road safety advocates and personal injury lawyers hoped for a safer summer in 2017, but that has so far not been the case. The City of Toronto recorded its first cyclist death of the year on May 24, when five-year-old Xavier Morgan fell into traffic while riding along the Martin Goodman Trail by Lake Shore Boulevard. Just over a month later, on June 30, renowned Toronto cycling advocate Gary Sim was struck by a van turning right into a driveway. He passed away from his injuries on July 2 at the age of 70.
Both deaths caught the attention of the media outlets, personal injury lawyers, and municipal legislators, all of whom hope to leverage the publicity to improve safety for vulnerable road users.
“These circumstances are tragic and they have an impact beyond the individual that’s killed and the person who’s involved,” said Cycle Toronto executive director Jared Kolb. “It ripples across families and shatters lives. It’s devastating.”
Personal injury lawyers know that pain and suffering also extends to seriously injured victims of traffic accidents. Collisions between motorists and cyclists or pedestrians almost invariably result in injuries for the vulnerable road users, which is why all stakeholders – from drivers to city politicians – must work in concert to improve road safety.
“When a driver makes a decision on their own and assess the amount of risk they are facing and decides to take that risk, and the driver’s action results in the injury or death of a pedestrian or a cyclist, (that) cannot be accepted as the norm,” Police Const. Clint Stibbe told The Toronto Star. “Drivers can do better, they must do better.”
Drivers aren’t uniquely to blame for injuries to cyclists and pedestrians, however. Many road safety advocates believe improved infrastructure could significantly reduce collisions.
“I don’t put the blame on the driver, the parent, or whoever was with the child,” Kolb told the Star, referring to the death of Xavier Morgan. “The blame goes on the city’s infrastructure.”
The City of Toronto is in the midst of rolling out a multi-year, $80-million road safety plan that includes substantial updates to cycling and pedestrian infrastructure, and Mayor John Tory called for an immediate safety review of the hundreds of kilometres of mixed-use trails in the city in the wake of Morgan’s death. However, these will take months or years to come into full effect.
Many cyclists do not realize that in circumstance where injuries are sustained in a bike – motor vehicle accident, they have an automatic entitlement to various insurance benefits through the Statutory Accident Benefits provided by the Insurance Act. In fact, even where an injured cyclist does not have their own policy of insurance, they will still be entitled to claim these benefits from the insurance policy of the motorist that they were involved in the accident with, regardless of fault. These benefits provide for basic entitlements to therapy and even a basic income replacement where the injuries are so severe that they prevent them from returning to work.
Accident victims can call the personal injury lawyers at Nanda & Associate if they have been hurt in a road accident and we would be happy to provide you know the consultation to give a complete breakdown as to what your rights are in your individual circumstance. In the case of motor vehicle – Our team has helped injured Ontarians access compensation for their injuries for years.