Winter is the most dangerous time of the year on Ontario’s roads, but spring brings with it certain unique safety risks. This is especially true for vulnerable road users, defined as pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, and anyone else who uses our streets without the protection provided by a standard motor vehicle.
Every spring, car accident lawyers in Ontario are flooded by calls from vulnerable road users or the families of vulnerable road users who have been injured in traffic collisions. The spring of 2022 may well be a banner year for such calls. Not only are lawyers expecting the usual seasonal uptick, but the broad reopening of our cities and towns in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic promises to put more vulnerable road users in harm’s way than in each of the two previous years.
In fact, there have already been several high-profile accidents involving pedestrians in Toronto and Hamilton alone. On April 14, a 30-year-old woman was critically injured in a late-night hit-and-run in downtown Toronto. She later died of her injuries, prompting a city-wide search for multiple suspects who eventually surrendered to the police.
On April 5, renowned Canadian conductor Boris Brott, 78, was killed in a hit-and-run on Park Street South in Hamilton. That collision came just days after a 14-year-old girl was critically injured at the intersection of Dundurn and Main in that city, and was followed by successive hit and runs on April 7 and 8.
Ontario’s major cities have struggled for years to reduce the number of serious accidents involving vulnerable road users occurring on their roads. Famously, Toronto implemented a Vision Zero strategy in 2016 that aimed to eliminate traffic deaths within five years; instead, pedestrian and cyclist deaths remain essentially unchanged. The municipalities’ ineffectiveness leaves it up to individual road users to prevent accidents, and to car accident lawyers to act when injuries occur.
With that in mind, here are a few safety tips for vulnerable road users and motorists:
Safety Tips for Pedestrians
- Always obey the rules of the road: cross at crosswalks, use sidewalks, follow traffic signals, etc.
- Always stay alert! Be aware of the traffic around you and avoid looking at your phone in busy areas
- As much as possible, wear brightly coloured clothing to stay visible
Safety Tips for Cyclists
- Always wear a helmet; doing so can be the difference between life and death in a collision
- Communicate your intentions to drivers by using hand signals
- Wear bright, visible clothing; the first step to staying safe is being seen
- Equip your bike with necessary safety equipment, including a bell or horn and lights on the front and rear of the machine
Safety Tips for Motorcyclists
- Always wear a properly fastened helmet
- Wear bright and visible protective clothing
- Obey the rules of the road, especially speed limits
Safety Tips for Motorists
While everybody is responsible for maintaining safety on Ontario’s roads, nobody bears more responsibility than individual motorists in full-size vehicles. Remember: in collisions with vulnerable road users, you and your family are protected; the cyclist, pedestrian, or motorcyclist you hit is not.
- Be aware: make a conscious effort of looking for vulnerable road users and giving them room
- When opening a parked car door, double check that no cyclists are coming up behind you
- Double check for cyclists at every right turn
- Slow down! Collisions with pedestrians occurring at 30 km/h or less are drastically less likely to result in a fatality than collisions at higher speeds
What to Do If You’ve Been Injured
If you as a vulnerable road user are injured in a collision with a motor vehicle, the first thing you should do after seeking medical attention is set up a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced car accident lawyer. If you choose Will Davidson LLP, our team will listen to your story, assess the viability of your claim, and, if possible, help you through every step of the legal process. Our goal is to help you secure financial compensation for the damages you suffered through no fault of your own.
Contact our team of car accident lawyers today to learn more.