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Toronto, ON

Data Gaps in Toronto Cyclist and Pedestrian Injuries Raise Concerns

People crossing the road in the downtown Toronto district.

How many cyclists and pedestrians are actually being injured in Toronto?

Initial data collected by officials in Toronto about the number of bicycle and pedestrian accidents fell far short of the actual number of accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists in the city, according to a more recent study conducted by researchers in Toronto.

"One of the surprises in our study is that, both for hospitalizations and for emergency department visits, about 80 percent of the bicycle-related injuries were not reported to have involved motor vehicles," Alison Macpherson, a professor at the School of Kinesiology & Health Science at York University, said in an interview with The Toronto Star about the more up-to-date accident data.

So, just how common are bicycle and pedestrian accidents in Toronto? Why do so many accidents occur? And what’s being done in Toronto to prevent pedestrian and bicycle accidents? Our Toronto bicycle accident lawyers at Smitiuch Injury Law explain.

Pedestrian and bicycle accident data in Toronto higher than first reported

Between 2016 and 2021, the City of Toronto initially thought that 2,362 people were injured or died in pedestrian or bicycle accidents based on records compiled by police in Toronto, according to The Toronto Star.

However, a more recent study conducted by Macpherson and other researchers from York University, Toronto Metropolitan University, and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) found that far more cyclists and pedestrians were injured or died in accidents during that period.

Based on hospital emergency room records, more than 30,000 cyclists and pedestrians were injured in Toronto during the same six-year period, The Toronto Star reported. As a result, the initial figures collected by Toronto police only accounted for 8 percent of all emergency room visits involving injured pedestrians or cyclists in Toronto.

"Ultimately it would be amazing if those (police and hospital) data could be linked and we can get a complete picture," Macpherson said.

Why do bicycle and pedestrian accidents happen in Toronto?

Accidents involving cyclists and pedestrians hit by a car in Toronto often occur because the driver acted recklessly or negligently. Examples include:

  • Distracted drivers, especially texting drivers, who are not paying attention.
  • Speeding drivers who don’t have time to slow down and avoid hitting a pedestrian or cyclist.
  • Aggressive drivers who don’t share the road, especially with cyclists.
  • Reckless drivers who don’t obey the rules of the road, including running a red light or not stopping at a stop sign.
  • Impaired drivers under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.

What’s being done to keep Toronto pedestrians and cyclists safe?

The City of Toronto is actively taking steps to prevent accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists. According to the recent Toronto Star article about the actual number of accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists, some of the preventative steps being taken by the city include:

  • Installing streetcar track inserts to prevent bicycle accidents involving cyclists catching their wheels in streetcar tracks.
  • Making sure construction materials are not left on the road, which often results in bicycle accidents.
  • Collecting more accurate data in the future about bicycle and pedestrian accidents in Toronto so city officials can better identify problem areas and common causes of such accidents.

“The city looks forward to working with both the ICES and the Toronto Police Service to continue to develop higher quality data sets that will improve the safety of pedestrians and cyclists,” a spokesperson for the City of Toronto said in an interview with The Toronto Star.

We can help you recover financial compensation if you’ve been injured

You might think you don’t need a lawyer if a driver caused an accident involving a cyclist or pedestrian in Toronto. Unfortunately, many accidents that seem straightforward at first often turn into complicated legal cases.

This is why it’s always in your best interests to talk with a lawyer if you have been hit by a car while riding a bike or walking in Toronto. Our legal team at Smitiuch Injury Law knows how to handle these complex cases. That’s because we have been standing up for the rights of injured pedestrians and cyclists in Toronto for years.

Learn more about how our Toronto law firm can help you. Contact us and schedule a free consultation with a Toronto pedestrian accident lawyer you can trust. Our law firm has three offices conveniently located in Toronto, Brantford, and Simcoe, Ontario.

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