What Is the Law if I Sustained a Brain Injury?

By Mark
Edited by Admin
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If you’ve ever been to the Netherlands, you probably feel as though you’ve seen the future of transportation—and the future is bi-wheeled. The Dutch are at the cutting edge of bicycle technology and practice: they’ve got cycling highways, bicycle parking lots, and extremely cyclocentric legislation to allow for truly equitable road-sharing. But interestingly, and contrary to what you might imagine, the Dutch rarely ride with helmets. Since both the physical and legal infrastructure is so beneficial for cyclists, helmets in Holland are more often than not an excessive precaution. However, if you’re in Ontario asking, “What is the law if I sustained a brain injury?”, Dutch safety couldn’t seem farther away. As such, doctors across Canada continue to lobby for stricter helmet legislation.


The Locus of Cycling Injury


Cycling in Ontario comes with its own injuriousness no matter who you are, especially on roads with high levels of serious motor vehicle accidents, but one of cycling’s most concerning aspects is that it has no age limit. Drivers need to be at least 16, and even then they have to pass several written and performance exams before setting out on the roads. Riders have no such limitations, and children as young as five years old have the same rights—and thus the same responsibilities—as any other rider. As you might expect, this is too much responsibility for children: 4 percent of all emergency department visits are due to cycling injuries amongst youth and children, and they are the fifth-leading cause of youth and child hospitalization. But rather than asking, “What is the law if I sustained a brain injury?”, we should endeavour to improve legislation, especially with respect to helmets.


The Benefits of Helmet Legislation


Study after study has shown that helmets significantly lessen serious bicycle injuries. One such study found that, when wearing helmets, head and brain injury dropped by 69 percent, severe brain injury dropped by 74 percent, facial injuries dropped by 65 percent, and fatalities dropped by 73 percent, regardless of the age group controlled. But would increased helmet legislation automatically increase the actual use of helmets on the street? Coupled with an adequate level of enforcement, researchers believe it would indeed. Canadian Community Health Survey data indicates that helmet use is greatest in provinces with all-ages legislation and is lowest where there is no helmet legislation at all. An Ontario study even found that legislation alone was enough to increase helmet use, even if law enforcement is negligible.


It should almost go without saying that helmets are an important piece of equipment for any cyclist. They can be the difference between a few cuts and bruises and a debilitating injury. When it comes to our children on the roads, this difference is absolutely essential. But, if you or a loved one ends up in the unfortunate situation of asking, “What is the law if I sustained a brain injury?”, don’t just ask around: get yourself a free consultation with an experienced Toronto personal injury lawyer today and get started on pursuing the compensation you deserve.