1For biking enthusiasts, London, Ontario is a great city. It has beautifully paved pathways that criss-cross the entire city and connect cyclists to their destinations through scenic parks and riversides. But while these pathways exist, they don’t always get you to where you need to go. Whether you’re off to work in the downtown core or running errands at your local grocery store, you will more often than not find yourself having to take to city streets in order to reach your destination.

For motorists and cyclists alike, the green-painted bike lanes are a welcome presence on a number of London streets. They allow motorists to see how much room they need to give cyclists, and act as clear reminders to check their surroundings whenever crossing over the bike path lane. But not all London streets have bike lanes, and the sad truth is that car-bicycle accidents are happening more and more frequently in Ontario.

Our team at Harrison Pensa see these kinds of collisions all of the time. Whether it’s poor road conditions or the negligence of motorists, collisions do happen and cyclists suffer severe and even life-threatening injuries as a result.

It is the responsibility of both motorists and cyclists alike to share the road safely and respectfully. As of September 1st, 2015, significant changes have been made to the law to increase cyclist safety on the roads. Two of these changes include sharing the road and a prohibition against ‘dooring.’

As a motorist you may already be aware that you need to share the road with cyclists. That’s a no-brainer right? But when you approach a cyclist do you really know how much space you need to safely pass them by? Often, motorists guess at this space requirement, and many times it is a bad guess that has them personally involved in a car-bicycle collision.

According to the newly changed laws, at least one meter of separation is required between a passing motorist and a cyclist. Failure to comply not only increases the risk of being in a collision, but it can also cost you $110 in fines and two demerit points. If these requirements are not met in a Community Safety Zone that fine increases to $180.

Another change to the law is the prohibition of dooring. Dooring is the act of opening a door of a motor vehicle, into the pathway of a cyclist. When this is done, there is the increased risk of cyclists striking the door and suffering serious injuries. Dooring may seem like a humorous situation you’ve seen in romantic-comedy movies, but it is actually very dangerous and happens more often than you might think. Because this act often leaves cyclists with severe injuries, the fine for committing this offence is a minimum of $365 and can increase to $1,000. Motorists caught in this act are also assigned three demerit points in addition to the fines.

With collisions happening everyday on Ontario streets, it’s important for motorists to have an increased sense of caution for the other motorists, cyclists and pedestrians that they share the road with. Cyclists too have a responsibility to use and share the city streets responsibly. Whether you’re a motorist, a cyclist or a pedestrian, collisions can cause life-changing damages. If you have recently been in an accident it is important to know your rights and what steps you can take moving forward.

To know the steps you can take in the event of an accident, or for a list of frequently asked questions relating to traffic accidents, please visit our website at www.harrisonpensapersonalinjury.com.

A word from our clients

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"My wife was involved in a very serious motor vehicle collision several years ago, and luckily she survived, but unfortunately she suffered some injuries."
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January 8, 2016

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HARRISON PENSA ™ is a full-service law firm representing private & business interests throughout southwestern Ontario.

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