Bicycle Accident Claims: Who’s At Fault?

One of the joys of big city living is that metropolitan areas have become so much friendlier to pedestrians and bicyclists. Many North American big cities, discovering what their European counterparts have known for decades, have added bike paths and lanes and signage to protect their growing numbers of bike riders. Has it helped? Toronto city statistics report about 1,200 bicycle accidents per year. That seems like a lot, until it’s compared to the city’s annual 52,000 vehicle collisions. But the relative lack of bicycle accidents still doesn’t dismiss the very real pain or suffering that these victims endure. Or that many of them would have suffered less with the services of personal injury lawyers Toronto.

Are Bicycles Unsafe At Any Speed?

The biggest problem with so many people taking to bicycles as transportation across Canada and the United States is that they and their rights to be using public thoroughfares just aren’t being taken seriously by the public. As a result, those using bicycles as transportation in Toronto and elsewhere not only just run the risk of being forced off of the road by inconsiderate motor vehicle operators. According to Toronto police, the most common accidents involving bicyclists in the city include failure to yield the right of way, improper turning and passing, and “dooring”, in which a cyclist collides with an abruptly open door in the riding path, usually a vehicle’s.

Aren’t Bicyclists Always On The Side Of “The Right”?

One of the “bumps” that legal entities and cyclists have struggled with for many years is what exactly a bicycle is. The imperfect conclusion is that it’s considered a vehicle, and thus is subject to the same rules and regulations as any other vehicle, despite its light weight and lack of protection. Canada addresses the “hybrid” qualities of the bicycle as transportation in its Highway Traffic Act (HTA), which also periodically updates changes to regulations and fines. Most recently, it addresses vehicle passing distances and “dooring”. Although in a vehicle vs. bicycle accident, the bicyclist generally isn’t the “winner” in terms of damage, it shouldn’t be assumed that the vehicle driver will automatically be found at fault, either. This means that if investigators can’t determine accident fault, or decide that a cyclist contributed to it, he or she could be responsible for thousands of dollars in expenses. And bicyclists can be involved in non-vehicle accidents as well, involving pot holes, uneven road surfaces, and other infrastructure hazards.

What Toronto Personal Injury Lawyers Can Do For Bicyclists

In cases where fault is difficult to determine, or insurance won’t cover injuries or damage, personal injury lawyers from Claim Accident Services can be very helpful. They can document evidence, find witnesses, and file claims for victims. They can also help victims with funds for hospital expenses, and loss of income due to inability to work. Bicycle accidents in urban areas are often sudden and serious. Because of this, and because of recent changes to Canada’s bicycling laws, both cyclists and those who may have been struck by a bicycle are advised to consult with legal consul to insure the protection of their rights.

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