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Feb 15, 2022 in News Blogs

Blogs: How Should Responsibility be Assigned in Motorist-Cyclist Collisions?

bicycle accident lawyers

At Neinstein, our mission is to help vulnerable accident victims access the compensation they need to fund their recoveries. In Canada’s big cities, nobody is more vulnerable than pedestrians, cyclists, and other non-motor-vehicle road users. At the beginning of the month we discussed the precarious road safety situation in Toronto, despite years of action from City Hall. This blog will focus on a specific category of vulnerable road users – cyclists in bike lanes – and how bicycle accident lawyers can help.

Last month, Canadian Lawyer reported on the British Columbia Supreme Court’s decision in Steinebach v. Skittrell. The case centred on a Mother’s Day 2014 collision between the cyclist plaintiff, Steinebach, and the motorist defendant, Skittrell. The plaintiff was struck by the defendant as the defendant made a turn through an unusually busy intersection. While the defendant acknowledged that she had failed to check her blind spot before turning, she alleged that the plaintiff was cycling too fast for the conditions.

Justice Ardith Walkem’s decision acknowledged that all road users are responsible for road safety – that burden doesn’t fall to motorists alone. However, many road safety activists, including some bicycle accident lawyers, believe motorists carry an outsized burden of responsibility in interactions with vulnerable road users because they are much less likely to be seriously injured.

In her decision, Justice Walkem wrote that “where there is a marked bike lane, the starting presumption should be that there may be a cyclist travelling in that lane, and a turn across a bike lane is only appropriate after a driver confirms that the lane is free and not occupied.”

In other words, motorists must be extra-cautious when driving around bike lanes. The judge found that the defendant’s lack of attentiveness to the possibility of there being a cyclist in the bike lane, along with the defendant’s failure to check her blind spot, were the primary causes of the collision.

However, the judge also assigned some blame to the plaintiff, who should have adjusted his speed based on the busyness of the intersection. The defendant was assigned 85 per cent of the responsibility for the crash; the remaining 15 per cent was assigned to the plaintiff.

Many motorists have difficulty remembering that all road users have equal rights to the road. This remains true in busy downtown districts where motorists intermingle with cyclists, pedestrians, and other vulnerable road users. If you’ve been injured in a cycling collision, contact Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with our team of experienced bicycle accident lawyers. We may be able to help you secure compensation.

 

Image: Shutterstock

Personal Injury Lawyer at Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers Toronto

Greg Neinstein

Partner, Personal Injury Lawyer

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Area of Expertise

Cycling Accident

 

Accidents can happen. Our team at Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers are experts in bike accident claims. We help cyclists get bicycle accident compensation for a variety of accidents and injuries resulting from dooring, direct contact, and collision with cars, and poor or faulty infrastructure such as potholes. Our team of experienced lawyers will take the time to gather all relevant evidence pertaining to your case. We will detail the facts surrounding your bicycle accident and the lawyers and investigators assigned to your case will gather any eyewitness accounts when we develop a strategy for your case.

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Personal Injury Lawyer at Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers Toronto

Greg Neinstein

Partner, Personal Injury Lawyer

More Posts View Bio

Area of Expertise

Cycling Accident

 

Accidents can happen. Our team at Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers are experts in bike accident claims. We help cyclists get bicycle accident compensation for a variety of accidents and injuries resulting from dooring, direct contact, and collision with cars, and poor or faulty infrastructure such as potholes. Our team of experienced lawyers will take the time to gather all relevant evidence pertaining to your case. We will detail the facts surrounding your bicycle accident and the lawyers and investigators assigned to your case will gather any eyewitness accounts when we develop a strategy for your case.

More Posts Legal Support

Book A Free Consultation

We will not charge you unless your case is successful.


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At Neinstein we have been advocating for injured victims for over 50 years. Our committed and compassionate team will do everything necessary to help you and your family find solutions to the new challenges that arise from serious injuries.

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