Warm weather brings out Toronto bicyclists, but accident risks are real

Torontonians may not be aware that many consider the GTA the most dangerous urban area for bicyclists anywhere. As the largest city in Canada and the fourth largest on the continent, Toronto is a logical place for mishaps when heavy vehicles share the roads with unprotected cyclists.

According to the BBC, one significant contributor to Toronto bike accidents has been the slippery metal tracks on streetcar routes. These plus the desirability of separating larger vehicles from bikes have spurred the development of more dedicated bike lanes on city streets.

Still, the BBC cites a Pembina Institute study from 2015 that estimated five crashes for each 100,000 bicycle trips in Toronto, the highest rate of the five Canadian cities studied.

On March 20, 2019, the CBC reported that Mayor John Tory had just announced Vision Zero 2.0, a new phase of the city's plan for increasing road safety. However, he reportedly admitted that the program has been "largely disconnected from cycling" and that bike lanes need more attention.

The Toronto Star, however, in a 2018 article, cited a cycling safety advocate who was concerned about vehicle-bike accidents happening when vehicles turn right across bike lanes. This expert supports the installation of physical barriers between bike land and regular traffic to "make bikers more visible to right-turning vehicles."

While our city and provincial officials continue to work on the safety of Toronto's infrastructure, it remains true that when the driver of a car, SUV, van, truck or bus negligently contributes to a collision with a bicycle, that driver may be the appropriate target of a tort claim, in addition to the responsibility of involved insurance companies.

Typical bike accident injuries

The kinds of injuries a cyclist can experience from a collision with a vehicle can be life changing. Some include:

  • Traumatic brain injury and concussion
  • Internal injuries
  • Road rash (severe skin abrasions from scraping on pavement)
  • Spinal and neck injuries that can lead to paralysis
  • Bone fractures, including collarbone
  • Facial and dental injuries
  • Death

The severity of these injuries and the impact on a victim can be catastrophic. A lawyer can advocate for sufficient compensation to meet those needs created by the injuries such as:

  • Medical expenses
  • Medical equipment
  • Long-term care
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental health services
  • Lost income
  • Changes to home and vehicle to accommodate disability
  • And others

The lawyers at Klaiman Edmonds LLP in Toronto advocate for fair compensation for injured victims of bicycle accidents throughout the GTA and across Ontario. They also represent the surviving loved ones of those who passed away from bicycle accidents in wrongful death claims.