Lawyer guides us on how to make a claim for a damaged bike after being hit by a car

Patrick Brown, a lawyer at Mcleish Orlando, has provided his advice for people who have been hit by cars and would like to make claims for damages to their bicycles. I often get emails looking for advice on matters such as this but I'm just an opinionated blogger. Someone had reached out to me asking about what to do after he was hit by a car, but I'm not a lawyer, so I passed on the email to Patrick who kindly provided his advice pro bono to the unfortunate person.

In short, Patrick advises it is possible to get compensated for a damaged bike in a collision or crash if it meets some conditions and if the person follows the steps closely. Note: make sure you do not sign anything that releases the driver from any claim you may have for bodily injury.

Please don't take this article as official advice by me or by Patrick Brown. Your best bet is to contact a lawyer and get first hand advice since every case is unique.

Hopefully none of us will need to pay heed to this advice.

Faulty 'no fault' definitions

As soon as the term 'no fault' comes up in discussing accidents, collisions and insurance there is a lot of confusion as to what 'no fault' means.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada does an excellent job of explaining how 'no fault' insurance works. It even attempts to clear up some of the confusion but misses out on a little history that would really help clear things up. I am going to try to sort things out for you by example. I have simplified things a great deal as there can be many exceptions and thresholds that apply.

Let us go back to the time when 'no fault' insurance did not exist. If I were to hit Herb in his Hummer with my Smart Car, Herb's insurance would pay for his damages. Then his insurer would sue my insurer to be compensated for the funds they paid out. This is pretty much how most civil suits outside of car insurance work to this day. The person suing must prove that the other person is the one at fault. This process would be the same if I had hit Herb while he was on his bicycle.

At the end of the year Insurance companies saw that their losses under this scheme were comparable to one another. In addition they had big legal bills to deal with. It was clear that the easiest way to save money was to stop suing one another and to just pay their insured directly.

Hybrids in more collisions with bikes in cities

Pedestrians and bicyclists have ended up in more crashes with quiet hybrid cars than with typical vehicles with noisy internal combustion engines (ICE). The new National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report, titled "Incidence of Pedestrian and Bicyclist Crashes by Hybrid Electric Passenger Vehicles", studied crashes between pedestrians/cyclists and vehicles finding that the lack of noise for new hybrids was linked to an increase in crashes. These crashes were more prevalent at intersections, interchanges, parking lots and other places where cars traveled at slow speed, the places where the hybrids were most likely to be quietest. It found that hybrids were twice as likely to be in a crash with a pedestrian in these areas.

According to

NHTSA looked at state-level crash files to compare crash rates on these two types of vehicle engines. Out of 8,387 hybrids 77 (or .9 percent) were involved in crashes with pedestrains. Out of 559,703 conventional vehicles studied, 3,578 (or .6 percent) were involved in crashes with pedestrians. In crashes involving bicyclists, 48 (or almost .6 percent) were involved in crashes with a hybrid vehicle whereas conventional vehicles were implicated in 1,862 (or .3 percent) of crashes.

Witnesses Sought Queen & Shaw - Nov. 25

Over the years, I have seen many of these notices on utility poles. There are a timely reminder of how important witnesses are. Hopefully, someone who read this post can help.

Bike-on-bike collision, cyclist killed

According to this Toronto Police news release, two cyclists collided on the trail near Bayview Ave. and Pottery Road, resulting in the death of an 84 year old man.

Police request assistance with bicycle−on−bicycle collision
Broadcast time: 17:35
Thursday, October 22, 2009

Traffic Services

On Tuesday, October 20, 2009, at 11:43 p.m., police responded to a call for a bicycle−on−bicycle collision, in the Bayview Avenue/Pottery Road area.

It is reported that:

  • an 84–year−old man was riding southbound on a bicycle path, just south of Pottery Road, adjacent to Bayview Avenue,
  • the man was descending a hill when his shoulder struck the shoulder of a 61−year−old man riding his bike,
  • the 84−year−old man, who was wearing a helmet, fell to the ground and struck his head,

He was taken to hospital with life−threatening injuries and later died.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416−808−1900, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416−222−TIPS (8477), online at, or text TOR and your message to CRIMES (274637).

Constable Isabelle Cotton, Public Information, for Constable Hugh Smith, Traffic Services

Cyclist hit on Coxwell

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The Toronto Police are reporting (PDF) that a cyclist was hit and injured last night while riding on Coxwell Ave., north of Gerrard St.

On Thursday, May 7, 2009, at 11:07 p.m., police responded to a call for a personal injury collision on Coxwell Avenue, north of Casci Avenue.
It is reported that:

  • a 19−year−old man was riding his bicycle north on Coxwell Avenue, in the right lane,
  • a Safari van was travelling north on Coxwell Avenue, in the left lane,
  • the cyclist turned left into the path of the van and was hit.

The cyclist was taken to hospital with life−threatening injuries.

The cyclist was not wearing a helmet but was wearing headphones, which may have limited
his ability to sense his surroundings.

Although the cyclist is at the age where helmets are not mandatory for cycling, the use of one
has been shown to reduce head injuries when worn properly.

The story has been picked up by a few media outlets today too:

The Toronto Star reports that, "His chest was crushed and he suffered a closed-head injury to his brain. He was taken to St. Michael's Hospital in life-threatening condition, but he is now expected to survive."

Is this cyclist at fault?

Is a cyclist at fault for riding through an intersection? In the Star's Wheels section a cyclist asks Eric Lai whether he was wrong to ride across an intersection. This cyclist was told by a cop that he was at fault for getting hit by a left turning vehicle while crossing the intersection.

Here's the Question:

Q: While riding my bicycle on the road, a car traveling in the opposite direction turned left in front of me at an intersection, causing me to collide with it.

At the hospital, police advised: "You're at fault because the law states that whenever a cyclist crosses an intersection, they have to get off their bicycle and walk. It doesn't matter if you're riding on the sidewalk or on the road."

Even though I had the right of way on a green light, the officer insists that a cyclist is considered a pedestrian and not a vehicle.

I feel I've been wronged and a careless driver escaped responsibility.

Jim Yeh, Markham

It could be the Star edited the question, or that the cyclist isn't telling us that he was actually riding in the crosswalk. There are by-laws about riding in the crosswalk in most cities, though it seems less a crime than running into someone. In fact, one of the responses suggests there was more to it: "The officer believed that the cyclist was riding "along" the edge of the crosswalk, not necessarily in it, but even if he was on the right edge of the roadway along the crosswalk, the law requires the cyclist to dismount and walk across the intersection."

2008 Bike Accidents Map

Just in time for the Spring cycling rush, the Toronto Star posted a new Map of the Week: Bike accidents. This map of "accidents" on the streets of Toronto gives a quick and handy guide to the cyclist-related carnage on Toronto's streets.

I haven't studied this map in great detail yet, but it doesn't look like things have changed that much from other similar maps I've seen in the past. Some typical observations on these maps:

  • The core east-west streets (Bloor, College, Queen, etc.) seem to have solid patterns and high concentrations of "accidents".
  • Some of the north-south streets like Bay and University look bad too.
  • The number of cycling "accidents" drops quickly once you get out of the core. Most likely because the number of cyclists drops too.
  • There are lots of "accidents" even when a bike lane is in place (e.g. Davenport).
  • This map also confirms that there are cyclists in Scarborough (unfortunately, they have "accidents" too).

According to The Star, who saved you plenty of time by not having to click on ALL of the dots, here are the worst intersections in Toronto:



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