Tag Archives: biking

June is Bike Month! – Clips & Tips with Patrick Brown

McLeish Orlando and Bike Law Canada are kicking off Bike Month together and celebrating all things to do with bikes.

This month, we hope to encourage you to get out and ride, learn a new skill,  or have fun with your family and explore your cycling communities.  Of course, no matter where or how you ride, we want to make sure you are protected and know your rights to the road.  That is why we have teamed up with Bike Law Canada, and enlisted the help of McLeish Orlando Partner, Patrick Brown, to tell you everything you need to know about cycling and the law.

Over the next 30 days, we will be releasing helpful “clips and tips” on some of our most commonly asked cycling safety and legal questions – everything from how to fit a helmet to steps to take if you have a crash – McLeish Orlando and Bike Law have got you covered with everything you need to know.  Do you have a specific cycling legal question?  Don’t hesitate to contact us and we would be happy to speak with you.  We hope everyone has a great Bike Month, follow along with us on this page and on our social media channels, and as always, ride safe and ride proud.

Helmets:

Taking the Lane:

Side Guards:

Click here for the Coroner’s review

Click here to find your MPP to write to them

Alcohol & Bikes:

Rider Cards:

Riding Side-by-Side & Tandem:

Municipal Liability:

Pedestrian-Cyclist Collisions:

How to Repair a Damaged Bike:

Language Matters:

Protecting the Cyclist Through Insurance:

Getting a Ticket: 

Bias:

Idaho Stop:

Video Cam Footage: 

Dooring:

Bike on Bike Crashes:

Vulnerable Road User Laws:

Book Club:

When You Need a Lawyer:

Cyclist Accident Benefits:

Tips for a Good Lawsuit:

Blog Resources:

What Should I Do if I Get Into a Collision While Cycling?

Call for Change – The Need for Mandatory Education of Truckers with Respect to Cyclist Safety

Contributory Negligence and Helmet Use: Recent Updates to the Law in Ontario

Cyclists, Pedestrians, and Their Rights to Accident Benefits

Obtaining the Name of the Person who Doored You

Drivers or Cyclists: Who Has the Right of Way?

Obtaining the Name of the Person who Doored You

Written By: Patrick Brown and Ryan Marinacci, Law Student

YOU DON’T HAVE THE NAME OF THE PERSON WHO DOORED YOU? HERE IS SOME HELP

In the past, the Toronto Police Services Board refused to release the identities of drivers who door cyclists by stating that it is considered an “incident” as opposed to a reportable motor vehicle accident and by relying on the personal information exemption under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, R.S.O. 1990.

WHY THIS MATTERS

When a cyclist is doored, failure to obtain the name and address of the driver can severely interfere with the cyclist’s ability to seek legal redress such as getting insurance benefits, compensation for their damaged bike, or being able to pursue a lawsuit.  For more on your cycling rights, visit Bikelaw Ontario and Cycle Toronto.

RECENT DECISION OPENS DOOR TO GET NAME AND ADDRESS

The Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner recently ordered the Toronto Police Services Board to disclose the name and address of a cyclist who struck a pedestrian in Toronto (Police Services Board) (Re), 2020 CanLII 28073 (ON IPC).

For the purpose of releasing the names and addresses of the individuals involved, there is no principled reason to distinguish between a driver who doors a cyclist and a cyclist who hits a pedestrian.  Going forward, this decision should serve as a precedent for requiring the Police to release the identity of a driver who doors a cyclist.

So what to do?  If you are doored and you do not have the name of the person who doored you, prepare and send in a Freedom of Information Request (attached here):

  • Print, sign and date the letter, and insert the date of the dooring incident and any other identifying information you may have,
  • Print and complete the attached Access or Correction Request Form,
  • Print and attach the decision,
  • Pay the required $5.00 fee,
  • Wait for a response.

For those who want to know the basis for the decision please feel free to continue below.

The adjudicator had to determine whether the Police could refuse to disclose the identity of the cyclist under s. 38(2) on the basis that doing so would constitute an unjustified invasion of personal privacy.  This determination was made by turning to the criteria under sections 14(2) and (3).  Relevant here was s. 14(2)(d), the adjudicator found, which asks whether “the personal information is relevant to a fair determination of rights affecting the person who made the request.”

In order to engage s. 14(d), the appellant had to establish that,

  • the right in question is a legal right which is drawn from the concepts of common law or statute law, as opposed to a non-legal right based solely on moral or ethical grounds;
  • the right is related to a proceeding which is either existing or contemplated, not one which has already been completed;
  • the personal information to which the appellant seeks access has some bearing on or is significant to the determination of the right in question; and
  • the personal information is required in order to prepare for the proceeding or to ensure an impartial hearing.

On the facts, these criteria were easily met.  The adjudicator found that the cyclist’s name and address were relevant to a fair determination of the appellant’s rights, and stated,

[51]        …I am satisfied that he has met the four-part test in section 14(2)(d) because:

  • his right to sue is drawn from common law;
  • the right is related to a contemplated civil claim for damages;
  • the personal information to which he seeks access (i.e. the affected party’s name and contact information for service) has a direct bearing on a determination of his right to receive damages because he needs to identify the affected party in order to bring a successful claim; and
  • he needs the affected party’s name to prepare for the proceeding by serving him with his claim.

This factor heavily favoured disclosure and outweighed two concerns that militated against disclosure.  First, under s. 14(2)(h), the personal information had been supplied in confidence because the cyclist had voluntarily given a police statement.  Second, under s. 14(3)(b), the information had been obtained as part of an investigation into a possible violation of the law, and it did not matter that no charges were laid.

However, the appellant countered that the Act should not be used in a way that prevented individuals from exercising their legal rights.  Without the ability to obtain the identity of the proposed defendant, non-disclosure would effectively remove the appellant’s right to sue for the injuries sustained in the incident.

The adjudicator agreed, and stated,

[58]        I agree that the Act should not be used in a way that prevents individuals from exercising their legal rights, and find that the non-disclosure of the affected party’s name and address unduly impairs the appellant’s ability to pursue his right to seek damages.

In the result, the adjudicator ordered the Toronto Police to disclose the name and address of the cyclist.

Drivers or Cyclists: Who Has the Right of Way?

Written By: Nick Todorovic and Brock Turville, Student-at-Law

Every driver should be vigilant of cyclists on the road, whether driving in a bustling downtown core or in a quieter suburban neighbourhood. Failing to signal or check your blind spot and mirrors, even once, could lead to tragic consequences.

As reported by Ontario Public Health, although the injury and fatality rates have been decreasing for those inside vehicles, that has not happened for vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians and cyclists. The City and province are taking some steps to educate drivers and cyclists on their rights and obligations, but more progress must be made. A sound understanding of applicable laws and the right of way can help further reduce the number of cyclists getting struck down and killed each year.

Keeping a proper lookout

Some drivers do not see cyclists at all before impact, remaining entirely oblivious to their presence. Yet cyclists do not appear out of nowhere.

A reasonable driver monitors the space around them through continuous mirror and shoulder checks, both before and during any turn or maneuver. A reasonable and attentive driver knows that the traffic around them could change at any moment and adapts to those changes (just because the road was clear does not mean it will be 10 seconds later). A reasonable and defensive driver anticipates that a cyclist may appear “out of nowhere” and is ready to react.

These attitudes should prevail amongst motorists due to cyclist vulnerability. When pitted against a three thousand pound vehicle, cyclists may lose their life while the driver may sustain a small dent on their car.  Instead of viewing cyclists as being “in the way”, understand that cyclists under the law have just as much of a right to be on the roadway as you do.

One of the most problematic occurrences in the city is when drivers turn right across bike lanes. Another common maneuver that leads to collisions is left-hand turns in front of cyclists travelling in the opposite direction. Some cycling trails in downtown Toronto, including the off-street multi-use trails on Queens Quay, are high-collision areas where some drivers turn left or right into the paths of oncoming cyclists.

There is a misconception that drivers cannot enter a bike lane before turning right and that these lanes are solely for cyclists. This is wrong. Whether a driver can enter a bike lane before a turn and who has the right of way depends on the type of bike lane and any applicable signage.

Types of bike lanes

  1. Bike lanes with dashed white lines

A dashed white line leading up to the intersection means a driver can fully enter the bike lane before turning when it is safe to do so. Safe to do so means when they can enter the lane without impeding the flow of cyclists coming from behind. The same concept of changing car lanes applies. A cyclist ahead of the vehicle is entitled to maintain the lane. The cyclist approaching a right turning vehicle from behind has two options: wait behind the vehicle or pass on the left-hand side when it is safe.[1]

  1. Bike lanes with solid white lines extending to the intersection

 

A solid white line means cyclists have the right of way. Motorists must yield and may not enter the bike lane until the way is clear and they can safely turn into the opposing lane. [2] This applies to bike lanes with a solid white line that extends to the intersection. Put simply, drivers should not cross or enter the portion of the bike lane with a solid white line. These solid white lines transition to dashed white lines at intersections. This dashed portion is where drivers are permitted to cross the bike lane and complete their turn. Before doing so, motorists must yield to cyclists passing through the intersection on their right and should take care not to block the path of cyclists before completing their turn.

  1. Shared right turn bike lanes

 

These lanes can be confusing for drivers and cyclists. Most people do not know how they work.

Motorists that intend to turn right at these shared turn lanes should enter the green paint before the turn, preferably as far back as possible. This allows time to straighten out and to avoid making a sharp turn across the entire lane. Motorists may enter the bike lane only when it is safe to do so and the lane is clear of cyclists. Vehicles turning right should “hug” the curb as far to the right as possible so that cyclists can pass on the driver’s side.

Cyclists travelling through the intersection follow the “sharrow” marking on the left hand side of the bike lane, which is considered far safer and prevents cyclists from getting “right hooked” by vehicles.

The Toronto Star monitored activity at this intersection for two hours and identified 609 infractions by drivers and cyclists.[3] Many road users do not fully understand how these lanes work. Be patient and be prepared to yield.

Below is a diagram of how these lanes operate in theory:

Watch this video to see how these lanes work in practice.

  1. Bike boxes

Bike boxes are designated spaces for cyclists to stop in front of vehicles at a red light. Drivers must stop at the stop line behind the bike box. Vehicles are not permitted to stop within the bike box or turn right on a red light. When the light turns green, cyclists are entitled to proceed first.[4]

“Sharrows” or no bike lanes

On roads with “sharrows”, motorists may only pass cyclists if there is a 1-metre clearance. Drivers who fail to keep a 1-metre distance when passing cyclists face a fine of $110[5] and up to $500 and 2 demerit points if they choose to contest the charge and are subsequently convicted.[6] If there is not enough room to pass, keep a safe distance behind cyclists.

Stopping and parking in or near bike lanes

It is illegal for most vehicles to stop or park in a marked bike lane. The fine for doing so is $150.[7] Exemptions include ambulances, police or fire service vehicles (or any other vehicle responding to an emergency), loading or unloading of disabled persons from a Wheel-Trans vehicle, or vehicles actively engaged in public works (such as utilities works). Transit/school buses and taxis are also permitted to stop in bike lanes while loading and unloading passengers.[8]

Drivers and their passengers must take extra caution when exiting a vehicle near a bike lane to avoid “dooring” passing cyclists. Drivers could face a fine of $365 and 3 demerit points or up to $1,000 and 3 demerit points if they choose to contest a “dooring” charge and are subsequently convicted.[9]

To avoid dooring cyclists, you should perform the “Dutch Reach” when exiting your vehicle.

Conclusion

With all of that said, bike lanes were meant and do reduce injuries and death to cyclists. But they only work when people use them correctly and they are properly designed and repaired.  Not all drivers or cyclists are aware of who is entitled to go first. If there is confusion, it is often best to be patient, remain calm, and yield to cyclists even if you have the right of way. Drivers should ensure they signal, check all mirrors and blind spots, and keep a proper lookout for cyclists travelling in all directions. Always scan for cyclists as you approach an intersection and be prepared to slow down or stop at any time.

Equipped with this knowledge, it is hoped that drivers and cyclists will be able to travel safely and free from harm.

[1] https://www.toronto.ca/services-payments/streets-parking-transportation/cycling-in-toronto/safety-and-education/signs-and-pavement-markings/

[2] Ibid.

[3] https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2018/06/26/we-spent-rush-hour-watching-cyclists-and-drivers-navigate-an-absolutely-terrifying-toronto-intersection-most-did-it-wrong.html

[4] Supra note 1.

[5] https://www.toronto.ca/services-payments/streets-parking-transportation/cycling-in-toronto/cycling-and-the-law/

[6] http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/safety/bicycle-safety.shtml

[7] Supra note 5.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

Rocket Ride for Rehab

McLeish Orlando is excited to sponsor Toronto Rehab Institute’s first ever Rocket Ride for Rehab.

Don’t miss your opportunity to be a part of the premier, one-of-a-kind, spin event in the heart of the financial district! The event is taking place at First Canadian Place on the main floor, and the session is being led by instructors from Rocket Cycle. For more information about the event, click here.
All funds raised will support Toronto Rehab Foundation.
Click here to register for the event. Spin Session #1 is sold out, but there are still spots left for Spin Session #2!