Bicycle Collisions with Vehicles in Ontario: Know Your Rights and What to Do

Cycling Post Pic

In Ontario, the increasing number of cyclists on the roads has led to a rise in bicycle-vehicle collisions.  The death of a 39-year-old man in Toronto in April 2024 when he was struck by a flatbed truck is a tragic but not uncommon example of what our lawyers are seeing.

It’s crucial to know your rights and the necessary steps to take if you find yourself in this unfortunate situation.

The very first personal injury case Auger Hollingsworth handled back in 2005 involved a cyclist who was doored by a parked car on St. Laurent Blvd in Ottawa.  The cyclist flew over his handlebars and broke his collarbone.  He was off work for a long time because he had a physical job.  Fortunately, we were able to secure an excellent settlement on his behalf.

Immediate Steps at the Scene of the Accident

If you’re involved in a collision with a vehicle while cycling, your first priority should be your safety and health. Here are essential steps to follow at the accident scene:

  • Check for Injuries: Before anything else, assess yourself and others for injuries. If anyone is seriously injured, call 911 immediately.
  • Move to Safety: If you’re able to move, get yourself and your bicycle out of traffic to avoid further danger.
  • Exchange Information: Collect the driver’s contact and insurance information, including their name, address, phone number, driver’s license number, and license plate number.
  • Witnesses: If there are any witnesses, get their contact information as well. They could provide valuable testimony later.
  • Document the Scene: Use your phone to take photos of the scene, your bicycle, the vehicle, any visible injuries, and road conditions. These photos can be crucial evidence.
  • Call the Police: Even if the accident seems minor, it’s important to get a police report. The report can be vital when filing a claim.

Understanding Your Rights: Statutory Accident Benefits

As a cyclist involved in a collision with a vehicle in Ontario, you are entitled to Statutory Accident Benefits regardless of who is at fault and even if you do not have your own car insurance. These benefits can include:

Medical and Rehabilitation Benefits: Covers the cost of medical and rehabilitation expenses not covered by health insurance.

Income Replacement Benefits: Provides compensation for lost income if you’re unable to work due to your injuries.

Non-Earner Benefits: Available if you are not currently employed but suffer a complete inability to carry on a normal life.

Caregiver Benefits: If you qualify, these are for those who cannot continue as a primary caregiver for a member of their household.

Attendant Care Benefits: For paying the cost of an aide or attendant.

At Auger Hollingsworth we have represented a number of cyclists who have suffered catastrophic injuries after being struck by a vehicle.  In one case, a young man was catastrophically injured when a taxi driver maneuvered into our on a bicycle client because he was too impatient to wait for the car ahead of him to turn left.  Our client was catastrophically impaired and received a settlement over a million dollars.

Assessing Liability and Damages

Determining who is at fault – assessing liability – is a critical part of the process. This involves analyzing the circumstances of the accident, the actions of the driver and cyclist, road conditions, and adherence to traffic laws. The outcome of this assessment will affect the compensation you might receive.

We have successfully claimed compensation for cyclists even where the cyclist did not come in contact with the vehicle.  In one case, our client was a bike courier who was forced off the road by a municipal bus that failed to give our client enough space in the lane.  As a result, our client suffered a serious fracture and required surgery.   The bus didn’t even stop.

Cyclists can claim various types of damages, including:

Pain and Suffering: Compensation for the physical pain and emotional distress suffered due to the accident.

Loss of Income: Covers the income you’ve lost and potentially future earnings if your ability to work is affected.

Past and Future Care Costs: Reimbursement for expenses related to ongoing medical care.

Family Law Act Damages: Compensation for family members who have suffered a loss of care, guidance, and companionship due to your injuries.

Important: Limitation Period

It’s crucial to remember that there is a limitation period for filing a claim. In Ontario, you generally have two years from the date of the accident to initiate legal action. Missing this deadline could mean losing your right to compensation.

Need Help? Contact Auger Hollingsworth

Navigating the aftermath of a bicycle collision can be overwhelming. At Auger Hollingsworth, we offer a free, no-obligation consultation to help you understand your rights and the next steps. Our experienced team is here to guide you through the process and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

Don’t wait; contact us today to ensure your rights are protected and to start your journey to recovery.

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