Updated: Aug 25, 2020
If you are doored, demand the car driver’s insurance information on the spot.
Alternatively, if you are too injured, ask a witness or paramedic to get that information.
This is critical information you need to receive health benefits and lost wages in a fair and timely manner through the No Fault Accident Benefits regime.
Do not assume the police will provide you with this vital information later.
9 months ago, I wrote to Toronto Police, Chief Saunders, Mayor Tory, and the Province outlining my concerns with police withholding insurance information from injured cyclists in dooring cases. My hope was that the legislative privacy anomaly police felt beholden to would have been addressed by the Province of Ontario in time for peak riding season. It has not been addressed.
I now have at least 4 new dooring cases this summer, in each the cyclist was injured.
The police continue to tell injured cyclists they cannot release the car driver’s insurance information. They encourage the injured cyclist to pay $70 for a Freedom of Information Act request. However, these requests are redacted for personal information and the insurance information needed is not accessible. A wild goose chase made all the more difficult and pointless when you are injured.
The Star Reported on this very issue last year as it related to the experiences of a cyclist I was assisting after a dooring.
A new cyclist I am helping, an ICU trauma nurse at a major hospital in downtown Toronto, was doored this June in Toronto. They suffered a pretty nasty concussion and required timely treatment. I advised the nurse to politely reach out to the Toronto Police officers who responded to the dooring and request the insurance information from them. I thought officers may help nurse working on our front-lines.
A half dozen emails went unanswered.
I stepped in and later police gave the nurse the insurance information. We would later find out it was missing a number…
When someone is injured in a collision with a car, be it a dooring, right hook or unsafe left, the injured person is entitled to no fault Accident Benefit insurance coverage. This is provincially mandated! It is set up so that injuries can be promptly addressed, and people can get on the road to recovery.
In failing to provide insurance information, an injured cyclist’s recovery is at risk.
Many cyclists do not have their own insurance and with so many people underemployed or unemployed during the pandemic, we do not all have access to health benefits. Injured cyclists need access to Accident Benefits in the immediate aftermath of a crash.
As a last resort can apply through the provincial Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund, but this is a highly irregular use of taxpayer money.
I am again loudly calling on the police and the Province of Ontario to fix this legislative loophole. It is directly impacting injured people and frustrating the timely delivery of health benefits to injured cyclists in dooring crashes. The insurance industry considers a dooring a collision. It is about time the state does as well.
People’s health is on the line.
Until we see action, make sure you demand insurance information from the driver, take pictures of their car and generally follow my personal crash guide if the unthinkable happens.
Contact me if you need help or have questions. Dave@thebikinglawyer.ca or 647-725-7751.
Ride safe friends.