In February and March, the City of Toronto and Toronto Police released two closely related sets of data: the first showed a 36 per cent increase in cyclist traffic on Bloor St following the installation of bike lanes last August; the second found that “dooring” incidents – when a driver opens their car door and strikes a cyclist – had increased 58 per cent from 2014 to 2016.

Bicycle ridership has surged in Toronto in recent years, and as bicycle accident lawyers know, injuries have increased with it. But it doesn’t have to be this way: with a little effort and cooperation from road users, the 2017 cycling season can be safer for everyone.

Cyclists’ responsibilities

Cyclists in Toronto sometimes adhere to a sort of “us against the world” ethos. While perhaps understandable in a city with limited cycling infrastructure and a long history of car-friendliness, this attitude does not contribute to the greater public good.

So what can cyclists do to keep safe? Firstly, they should be well-equipped: always wear a helmet, use a bell, and carry lights and reflective clothing for after-dark riding. Make sure your bike is well-maintained, too – slipping a gear and veering into traffic can cause chaos on the road.

Secondly, cyclists must obey the rules of the road. Motorists often complain about bikers ignoring stop signs or speeding through intersections. Riding within your legal limits both reduces your risk of injury and promotes a culture of trust and respect between road users.

If, despite these measures, you are injured in a collision, contact the bicycle accident lawyers at Will Davidson LLP to learn about your legal options.

Motorists’ responsibilities

Improved public safety depends on drivers’ willingness to share the road. Bicycle accident lawyers can tell you that cyclists are many times more likely to be severely injured in road accidents than motorists; just as cyclists must conquer their anti-car attitudes, drivers must overcome the notion that municipal changes to accommodate bike-riders do not amount to a “war on cars.”

In an opinion piece for the Globe and Mail, road-safety advocate and environmental lawyer Albert Koehl wrote: “[P]rogress is often thwarted by long-reigning attitudes that accord every car trip superordinate importance while treating the interests of non-motorists as secondary – or even a nuisance.”

Indeed, recognizing cyclists’ legitimate right to the road is the first step drivers must take to improve cyclist safety in Toronto. Beyond that, motorists can slow down on busy bike routes, exercise additional caution when making right turns, leave as much space as possible when passing cyclists, and generally endeavor to be more aware of vulnerable road users.

Bicycle accident lawyers can help

The unfortunate reality of Toronto’s booming bike culture is that accidents can – and do – happen. More bicycles on the roads will lead to more accidents and, in turn, more injuries. If you are injured while riding, contact the bicycle accident lawyers at Will Davidson LLP right away to set up a free, no-obligation consultation. Our team can help you access the compensation necessary for a full recovery.