Toronto considers allowing motorcycle lane filtering – is the practice safe?

The City of Toronto is considering a proposal to allow motorcyclists to move between lanes of traffic while stopped at red lights, a practice known as “lane filtering.” Advocates of the proposal believe it will reduce congestion and improve safety among motorcyclists; however, from a motorcycle accident lawyer’s point of view, it has the potential to complicate already dangerous riding conditions.

Michel Mersereau, a senior instructor for The Rider Training Institute who helped draft the proposal, described the project as such, according to Global News:

“Lane filtering, basically what we are looking at is a pilot project around Richmond and Adelaide streets which represents the highest motorcycle collision zone in the city and this would allow motorcyclists at a red light to filter up between a row of stopped cars to the stop line and proceed through the intersection once the light turns green.”

Lane filtering should not be confused with “lane splitting,” wherein motorcyclists navigate between moving vehicles.

Proponents say that lane filtering protects motorcyclists from a major safety concern: being rear-ended by drivers in intersections. Toronto Councilor Anthony Perruzza, who brought forward the motion and is a motorcyclist himself, said lane filtering puts riders “in a much safer place because they’re ahead of the cars and they’re not just sitting in a lane looking behind them to see someone in a vehicle looking at their phone or being distracted.”

Lane filtering is legal and popular in cities around the world, including in California where it helps address significant congestion concerns. However, the practice has a long history in these jurisdictions, meaning drivers are used to keeping an eye open for lane filtering motorcyclists. In Toronto, a widespread awareness campaign would be necessary to reduce injuries.

“All of a sudden this motorcyclist appears next to you and the car beside you, so it’s not something you can just implement overnight,” a spokeswoman for the Canadian Motorcycle Association told Global.

As any motorcycle accident lawyer in Ontario can attest, motorcyclists are already more susceptible to serious traffic injuries than most drivers on the road. Lane filtering might have benefits, but it shouldn’t be implemented until the risks are identified and soberly considered.

If you or a member of your family has suffered an injury in a motorcycle accident, contact Will Davidson LLP to speak with an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer today. Our team can help you understand your legal options and provide guidance on your road to recovery.


Image credit: Roland Dobbins/Wikimedia Commons

In Ontario, summertime is “trauma season”

Winter’s in Ontario are rough, but provincial medical workers know that summer is peak time for serious injuries. A May report from CBC News London confirmed what every catastrophic injury lawyer in Ontario knows: pleasant weather leads to an uptick in personal injury inquiries.

“We consider trauma season from May to September when more people are out on bicycles and in cars enjoying the weather,” Amy Makish, a trauma nurse practitioner at the London Health Science Centre, told the CBC. “We have a trauma registry that goes across Canada and we see what other centres are dealing with and the trends are the same.”

During the winter, motorists are keenly aware of the dangers they face and often drive more defensively. Inclement weather also tends to keep pedestrians indoors and cyclists off the roads. But when summer rolls around, Ontario’s streets and waterways spring to life, leading to a spike in injuries caused by motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, boating accidents, and car accidents.

“During trauma season, we get a lot of brain injuries, rib fractures, long bone fractures and it usually involves injuries to more than one part of the body,” Makish said.

So, how can summertime injuries be avoided? Doctors generally offer the same message as any catastrophic injury lawyer: take simple, common sense steps to protect yourself from grievous harm.

For car drivers, that means avoiding distraction and impairment; adhering to the rules of the road, especially the speed limit; and always wearing a seatbelt. The same goes for motorcyclists, who should also wear as much protective gear as possible.

As recent events in Toronto make clear, cyclists are at particular risk of injury during the summer months. Safety experts advise taking advantage of separated cycling infrastructure; ensuring bicycles are equipped with lights, bells, and reflectors; and always – always – wearing a helmet.

Similarly, boaters should never leave land without a life jacket and avoid boating while impaired at all costs.

Summertime in Ontario is all too short, so it’s natural that Ontarians are eager to get outside and enjoy the sun. By taking common sense precautions, you can ensure that your summer is as safe as it is fun.

If you or a member of your family has suffered a serious injury, contact Will Davidson LLP’s Oakville office today to arrange a consultation with an experienced catastrophic injury lawyer. Our team can help you understand your legal options, suggest proactive next steps, and guide you on your road to recovery.


Image credit: Josh Evnin/Wikimedia Commons

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

Motorcycles are a fun and exciting way to experience Canada’s expansive countryside, but also an inherently dangerous one. These small, relatively light vehicles can move extremely quickly and lack the safety measures built in to cars and trucks. For this reason, motorcycle accident lawyers are often asked to represent severely injured clients who require significant compensation to assist their recovery.

In 2016, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) responded to almost 750 motorcycle crashes, in which 31 motorcyclists died, the second most in the last six years. In response, groups like the Motorcyclists Confederation of Canada (MCC) and the Motorcycle & Moped Industry Council (MMIC) are eagerly promoting May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.

“At the MCC our long-term goal is to make Canada the safest place to ride a motorcycle,” said MCC Chair Dave Millier in a release. “We’re encouraging everyone to take the Motorcycle Safety Pledge because behind the helmet, motorcyclists are mothers, fathers, children, and friends.”

The Motorcycle Safety Pledge urges motorcyclists to ride sober and within the limits of their ability, to obey traffic laws, and to make arriving alive their top priority. Advocacy groups and motorcycle accident lawyers hope these and other measures can make 2017 a safer year for riders.

What can you do to stay safe?

Make and share your travel plans: Before heading out on a ride, make a detailed plan including your destination, your route, and when you expect to be home. Share this plan with family and friends, and keep a fully charged cellphone with you at all times.

Travel in a group: Riding solo along an empty highway may be a romantic image, but if you’re in a crash you’ll want to have a friend nearby. A riding companion can call for emergency help in case of an accident or perform basic first aid, if necessary.

Never drink and ride: This rule applies equally to motorcycling as it does to driving a car, a boat, or a bicycle. Impairment through alcohol or drugs affects your judgment and reaction time, and can lead to serious injury or death. And unlike other motorists who drink and drive, motorcyclists do not have the benefit of airbags, windshields, or a reinforced roof.

Watch your speed: Speed was a significant contributing factor in many of the 31 motorcycling deaths in Ontario last year. Motorcycles are built for speed, but that doesn’t mean post speed limits don’t apply to you. They are there for your safety.

Rules for motorists: Road users must work together to ensure each other’s safety. Drivers of larger vehicles must be acutely aware of motorcycles on the road, as they are sometimes difficult to see. If you’re driving a car or truck on the highway, make sure to regularly check your blind spots for motorcyclists before switching lanes.

Contact an injury lawyer: If you are involved in an accident, a team of motorcycle accident lawyers can help you on your road to recovery. An experienced injury lawyer can take care of your legal proceedings while you focus on getting better.

The motorcycle accident lawyers at Will Davidson LLP have years of experience helping injured Ontarians access compensation for their injuries. Our team has a reputation for compassionate, attentive service; contact us today to arrange a free consultation and learn about how we can help.

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