Bicycling Injuries in Toronto

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Bicycling Injuries in Toronto

Bicycling injuries in Toronto are all too common. Learn more about compensation and insurance claims.

Article Written By: Glenna M.


Bicycling Injuries in Toronto 
There are many signs of spring in Canada: tulips blooming in gardens, birds returning from the south, leaves and buds appearing on trees. In Toronto, the return of spring is also heralded by an influx of bicyclists, enjoying the fresh air on their way to work or school. The City of Toronto has put some measures in place to try to make the downtown core more safe and enjoyable for cyclists. Sadly, compared to other cities of comparable size, these measures are lacking. In some European cities, a set of rules has evolved over a century. Copenhagen, for example, features protected, one-way bike lanes that aren’t shared by cars, buses, or pedestrians. It also has streets designed to limit the number and the speed of cars in the city centre. These are the type of initiatives that can make a city truly safer for cyclists. Cycle-friendly cities aren’t limited to Europe, either. Montreal consistently ranks as the best North American city for cyclists. It has about 150km of cycle tracks — “bike-only” lanes that, by some form of barrier, are completely separated from traffic. Toronto has about 1/10th as many. Montreal also has groups that offer strong and consistent advocacy for cyclists.

However, some observers think we are at a tipping point. Many more bicyclists on the road, stronger advocacy, and more pro-bicycle voices at City Hall may help to bring a meaningful change to Toronto’s cycling community. In the meanwhile, bicyclists face dangerous conditions on our streets.

What does this mean for Toronto? Unfortunately, one of the effects of our lack of vision with regard to cycling in the city is a high rate of collision. Toronto streets see 52 collisions per 100,000 people, while Montreal has only 37 per 100,000 people. Most people who cycle in Toronto have had an accident or incident, or a “near-miss.” A 2016 Toronto Star article reported that a bicycle or pedestrian accident happens in Toronto once every 2.5 hours in the summer. Some of these are fatal, and many lead to devastating injuries. 

Not all of the fault lies with drivers. Anyone who drives in the downtown core has stories of cyclists who swerve in and out of traffic, don’t wear helmets, and disobey the rules of the road. However, when a car and a bicycle collide, the bicyclist will inevitably sustain the worst impact. To a cyclist, even a vehicle door opening in their path can be devastating. (There is a video on YouTube with over 200,000 views that illustrates the problem: a cyclist named Chelsea Mobishwash is riding in the bike lane on Adelaide Street when a truck driver, illegally parked, opens the door of his rig right in front of her.) In March of 2017, Cycle Toronto reported that incidents of “dooring” have increased by 58% over the past two years. Even streetcar tracks pose a particular danger to cyclists in our city.

A recent survey reported that 73% of Torontonians would like to bicycle to work, but they are worried that it’s not safe enough. 

Injuries and Their Aftermath
Common injuries sustained in bicycle accidents include:
Head and skull injuries
Traumatic brain injuries
Neck and back injuries
Spinal cord injuries
Hand, arm, and wrist injuries

If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, you may be eligible to file a claim. To understand your options, it’s best to consult with a personal injury lawyer. These lawyers work on a contingency basis, which means that you will not have to pay for a consultation, or for their services, until you receive a settlement or an award. 

If you’ve suffered an injury, particularly a serious one, it can be difficult to focus on anything except your own recovery. Serious injuries often require weeks of treatment and rest followed by rehabilitation. You may be unable to work or go to school; you may be struggling financially or personally to adjust. Having a personal injury lawyer on your side during this difficult time can make all the difference. He/she is working for your best interests, supporting you in your recovery and seeking compensation for your injuries and the disruption to your life.

Choosing a personal injury law firm can be a bit overwhelming, as there are many of them in Toronto. However, once you start thinking about the kind of representation you want, you can narrow your search. For example, you’ll want a firm that emphasizes effective client communication and that goes the extra mile to support you. If you are more comfortable communicating in a language other than English, look for a firm that offers multilingual services. If you’re still in a hospital or a rehab facility, seek out a firm that will send a lawyer to you whenever necessary. Look for a firm that gives you 24/7 access to legal advice. Finally, go with a firm that has plenty of experience in the field of personal injury law, and that can deal with both insurance claims and lawsuits. 

Bicycling injuries in Toronto are becoming more and more common. Consult a personal injury lawyer about your bicycle accident, and find out what your options are. The right representation can make a big difference to your future.