Bicyclists in Accidents Turn to Fracture Injury Lawyers for Help in Getting Benefits


Bicycle Accidents are on the Rise

Bicycle accidents have been increasing in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). A recent study indicated that, in the city itself, 54 per cent of residents claim to cycle – and that number is going to go up. Other statistics suggest that the number of people actually cycling to work rose 30 per cent. With that rise in bike use, inevitably there is an increase in accidents. The first thing a cyclist should do after any kind of bicycle accident is obvious: get medical attention. The second thing? Consult a fracture injury lawyer conversant with these types of claims.


The Range of Bicycle Injuries…

The list of fractures and traumatic injuries common with bicycle accidents is extensive, and a short-list includes:

  •      Musculoskeletal – fractures, dislocation and strains
  •        Chest – rib fractures, parenchymal lung injury
  •        Abdomen – including ruptured spleen, renal contusion, small or large bowel contusion, rupture and hernia
  •        Neck and skull injuries
  •        Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
  •        Neck and back injuries
  •        Spinal cord injuries
  •        Hand and wrist injuries

Of that list, head injuries are the most serious, and include skull fracture, concussion, brain contusion and intracranial hemorrhage.


Statistics on head injuries show they occur in between 22 and 47 per cent of injured cyclists. The causal accidents are sometimes the result of road conditions or cyclist error. However, collisions with motor vehicles are responsible for over 60 per cent of bicycle-related deaths and a majority of bike-related long-term disabilities.


Ironically, head injuries often prove to be the most problematic when calculating damages. Changes caused to a person’s personality, memory or judgment must be factored into any damages – but those changes may not happen immediately.


A good personal injury lawyer can, however, do the utmost possible to identify all of injuries suffered by bringing in medical specialists to make assessments.


Accident Benefits in Ontario

Cyclists who have been hit by a vehicle and who have suffered a fracture injury should consult a lawyer to see if they have grounds for a personal injury claim under the Ontario Insurance Act.


Bicycles are classed as vehicles and, as such, there are universal benefits covered under the Act. They include income replacement, attendant care, medical and rehabilitation benefits, coverage for lost educational expenses, funeral and defined benefits.


So the question arises: if those benefits are "standard” – why bother to hire a lawyer? A fracture injury lawyer can help ensure that the various limitation periods for claiming compensation are met, but also any additional tort claim if there is an issue of negligence. Greater coverage under the Ontario Insurance Act can also be obtained if the injuries suffered fall under the definite of ‘catastrophic impairment’ – injury that is far-reaching in its consequence. These most commonly include brain and spinal cord injuries, themselves both frequent results of bicycle accidents.


Most importantly, a fracture injury lawyer is experienced in conducting the kind of negotiations that lead to a damage settlement – either with an insurer or a negligent defendant. The lawyer will know the full range of settlements available for the types of injuries suffered, advocate for the injured party and, in all likelihood, bring negotiations to a conclusion without the need of a trial. If you have suffered a bicycle accident, consult a lawyer that has experience with fracture injury cases.

Bicycle Accidents in the GTA

Bicycle Accidents in the GTA

Bicycle Accidents in the GTA

In recent years, bicycle use in the Greater Toronto Area has increased greatly; in fact, nearly 2% of Torontonians ride to work on a regular basis, and many more bike for fun or exercise. That’s good news for the environment and a great way for city residents to stay fit – but more bicycles on the streets also means an increase in bicycle accidents. In the spring, as the weather gets warmer and the days get longer, the number of cycling accidents in the GTA spikes sharply. Drivers have grown less accustomed to seeing bicycles during the winter, and cyclists are “relearning” the art of biking in the city. Most bicycle accidents occur in the spring and summer, when cycling enthusiasm is higher.


Annually, the number of serious bicycle accidents in the GTA averages out to 9.5 every day, or one every 2.5 hours! Some of these accidents are crashes, when a cyclist hits an object or loses balance and falls, causing injuries that need medical attention. It’s estimated that about a third of bike crashes in Toronto are caused by streetcar tracks, which pose a real hazard to the thin tires of a bike. Another common type of bicycle accident is “dooring,” when a driver or passenger opens a car door in the path of a cyclist. These types of incidents have increased greatly over the past few years. However, the most serious bicycle accidents involve collisions with motor vehicles; too many times this kind of accident results in severe injury, permanent disability, or death. The City of Toronto has taken various steps to try to reduce bicycle-vehicle collisions, the most visible being the separated bike lane pilot project along a 2.4 km stretch of Bloor Street between Shaw Street and Avenue Road. An official report noted that the Bloor separated bike lanes project has improved safety in the corridor, increased cycling rates by a whopping 36%, and minimized negative effects on other road users.


Preventing Bicycle Accidents

Separated bike lanes may be the wave of the future for the GTA. However, the Bloor Street pilot project cost approximately $500,000 to install, so until the City budgets for more projects such as these, education may be the best tool to combat bicycle-vehicle collisions. Analyzing why these types of accidents occur and educating both cyclists and drivers may help to reduce the carnage on our roads.

Bicyclists can take safety precautions before heading out the door, including always wearing a helmet, ensuring that they have bright front and rear lights, and wearing bright/reflective clothing. When biking in the evening or at night, adding flashing lights is also recommended. Increasing visibility helps to reduce the chances of being involved in a collision.


Some of the most common causes of bicycle-vehicle accidents include:

  • Inattention. Being unaware of surrounding traffic can cause accidents. Whether it’s a bicyclist who is hurrying to get through an intersection, or a driver checking GPS, inattention can have disastrous consequences. Distracted driving is a significant problem that encompasses a number of behaviours, from smoking to having unrestrained pets in the vehicle, but texting is now of particular concern. Bicyclists are not immune from distraction, either -- on Toronto streets you can see all sorts of examples of this, including cyclists talking on cellphones or smoking while in motion.


  • Speeding. Going too fast means that if something goes wrong, the time you have to react is drastically reduced. It also means that, should a collision occur, the impact will be much greater.


  • Bad Weather Conditions. When visibility is reduced due to rain, fog, or snow, the number of road accidents increases. Similarly, if roads are wet, icy, in poor repair, or otherwise treacherous, more accidents will occur.


  • Errors in Judgement. Drivers who are unaccustomed to sharing the road with cyclists are often unsure of the rules surrounding bicycling. Cyclists sometimes underestimate the amount of space necessary and are clipped by a vehicle. Common situations where accidents happen include: when a motorist makes a right turn across a bicyclist’s path of travel; when a motorist is turning left at an uncontrolled intersection; when one or both of the vehicles fails to stop at a stop sign, or when a vehicle or bike is passed on the right.


If an Accident Happens

First, call for help for any injured person. A 911 operator will help you to deal with the situation if you stay on the line. Avoid moving the injured party. Combat shock by keeping the person as warm and comfortable as possible, and perform basic first aid according to instructions from 911. Wait for police and rescue personnel to arrive.


Once medical assistance has been provided for any injuries, seek out the advice of a law firm that has experience with accident cases. If you’ve been injured, a personal injury lawyer can counsel you about your options going forward.