Study Finds High Death Rate in Bicycle-Motor Vehicle Collisions - Diamond and Diamond Lawyers

Study Finds High Death Rate in Bicycle-Motor Vehicle Collisions


Researchers studying Ontario accidents involving a motor vehicle hitting a bicycle from the rear found that 43 percent of those collisions resulting in the death of the cyclist. The increased use of bicycles by adults for exercise and as an inexpensive method for commuting to work and avoiding rush hour traffic is reflected in the fact the study found that 87 percent of the cyclists killed in accidents with cars and other vehicles were adults and 64 percent of the collisions occurred during daylight hours. There are precautions drivers and cyclists can take to avoid accidents or lessen the severity of injuries.

Common causes of bicycle-motor vehicle collisions

Each accident is different, but some factors seem to be more common than others in causing crashes between cars, trucks and other motor vehicles and bicycles, including:

  • Driver distraction: Texting or talking on cellphones, tuning the radio, looking at GPS devices and talking to passengers cause drivers to divert their attention from the road and can cause them to collide with bicycle riders and other vehicles.
  • Passing too closely: Whether it’s because of an inability to judge the speed at which a bicycle is travelling or other reason, motorists not leaving enough room between their vehicles and bicycles they are passing may cause a collision.
  • Failing to stay in lane: As a general rule and subject to limited exceptions, such as when making a right turn, motorists are not permitted to encroach into lanes designated for use by bicycles.
  • Failing to yield the right of way: Bicycle riders and motorists must share the road and obey all traffic laws, including laws pertaining to yielding the right of way when making turns, at intersections and under other circumstances.
  • Exiting parked vehicles: Opening a car door without looking for approaching bicycle riders may cause the cyclist to crash into the door or force the rider to steer into the path of moving traffic.

Motorists must bear in mind that bicycles are not toys. The Ontario Highway Traffic Act classifies a bicycle as a vehicle along with cars, trucks, motorcycles and buses. Bicycle riders enjoy the same rights as do the drivers of other vehicles subject to certain limitations, such as being prohibited on 400-series highways and other controlled access highways in Ontario.

Common injuries suffered by bicycle riders in collisions with other vehicles

The size and weight difference between bicycles and other motor vehicles usually contributes to serious injuries or, as researchers concluded, deaths when there is an accident. Some of the most common injuries suffered by cyclists include:

  • Fractures to limbs and hips
  • Neck and spinal cord injuries
  • Concussions and other injuries to the brain
  • Head and facial injuries
  • Lacerations and scarring

The seriousness of the injuries suffered in a collision with a motor vehicle usually requires extensive medical care and treatment and an extended recovery period. This can result in the cyclists or their families incurring expenses, including:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Medical expenses
  • Lost earnings
  • Lost or diminished future earnings due to disability

Bicycle riders injured in collisions with motor vehicles could be entitled to compensation when the accident was the fault of the driver.

Ontario personal injury lawyers

If you or a loved one have been injured in a bicycle accident, the personal injury lawyers at Diamond & Diamond have years of experience successfully handling claims for compensation by people injured through the negligence of others. You should speak to one of our lawyers if you suffer an injury and need to file a claim. Call the Diamond & Diamond injury hotline at 1-800-567-HURT at any time of the day or night, or visit our website to speak to someone now. We offer free consultations and case evaluations to bicycle accident victims throughout Ontario.

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