Based on the number of per person trips, cyclists in Canada are more than twice as likely to be killed than motor vehicle occupants. Further, investigations into cycling deaths by the Ontario government have clearly shown that cycling deaths are preventable in the vast majority, if not all, cases.
Certainly, cyclists are far more vulnerable road users than are people in cars. And, while motor vehicle drivers and cyclists are both obligated to obey Ontario traffic laws, drivers sometimes forget that cyclists have an equal right to use Ontario roads. This means that drivers are obligated by law to share the road and they owe cyclists a duty of care.
The vulnerability of cyclists and pedestrians who are struck by a car or truck all too often results in catastrophic or fatal injuries for cyclists. A recent criminal case arose when a careless driver, Bradley Sippel, struck three cyclists from behind while they were riding lawfully and appropriately on a road south of Oakwood. As a result of the collision, one of the cyclists, a 24-year old Mississauga woman, was killed and two others were seriously injured.
The driver claimed that the accident happened when he unexpectedly blacked out just as he was going to move over and safely pass the cyclists, but the judge in the case did not accept the driver’s explanation. Rather, the judge found that the driver was entirely focused on getting to work as quickly as possible and was driving at an excessive speed and did not take actions to safely move around the cyclists. Mr. Sippel placed his desire to get to Toronto quickly ahead of his duty of care to other road users. The judge described his dangerous actions as a ‘series of deliberate decisions’ and correspondingly, the driver was found guilty of one count of criminal negligence causing death and two counts of criminal negligence causing bodily harm.
Injury Compensation for Cyclists
If you were involved in an automobile accident while biking, you are entitled to compensation for your injuries and losses, just the same as motor vehicle drivers and passengers. This means that an injured cyclist can claim statutory accident benefits under their own driver’s insurance policy if they own or lease a vehicle, under any vehicle insurance policy where they are listed as a driver, or under the vehicle insurance of a driver involved in the collision. If none of these circumstances apply (for example, if you were injured in a ‘hit and run’ accident or by an uninsured driver and don’t have access to any vehicle insurance policies), you can claim statutory benefits under Ontario’s Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund (MVACF).
If your biking injuries were caused by a careless driver, you also have the option of bringing a lawsuit against the driver and/or vehicle owner. Depending on your unique situation, you may be entitled to compensation for loss of income, rehabilitiation expenses, pain and suffering damages, and other losses you or family members incurred as a result of your injury. Keep in mind that you may have a case for damages even if the at fault driver was not charged with a careless driving or criminal charges as a result of your accident.
If a negligent driver contributed to your injury or if the insurer is disputing your statutory accident benefits claim, talk to an experienced biking accident lawyer at Injury Lawyers of Ontario. We have helped many cyclists get the compensation they were owed after being injured, and you can be assured that we will aggressively seek the best possible outcome for your case.