What you need to know if you ride a bicycle in Ontario – Part 1

As Winter changes to Spring, it’s time to consider bicycle safety. The province of Ontario is considering proposing changes to cycling safety. The current requirement is that motorists provide sufficient space for cyclists to pass, but proposed changes would make it mandatory for 1 metre to be left between cars and cyclists. If the proposed law is passed, the fine for non-compliance would be $1000 and 2-3 demerit points.  

In Windsor, many people use bicycles as a means of transportation. The Office of the Chief Coroner of Ontario, after carrying out a review of deaths caused by cycling, made the recommendation for the 1 metre passing distance. 

In Ontario, the bicycles and the rules for operating bicycles fall under the Highway Traffic Act. Cyclists are expected to obey rules of the road. There are certain roadways that a bicycle is not allowed to operate on, for example any 400-series highway and any roadway within a pedestrian crossover.  Riders under the age of 18 must wear a helmet.  There has been discussion as to whether or not helmet use should be mandatory for riders of all ages. An approved bicycle helmet can help to greatly reduce the risk of permanent injury or death in the event of a collision or fall.  

The Ministry advises that cyclists traveling slower than the rest of traffic should stay as close as possible to the right edge of the road. Cyclists are allowed to use the whole lane if staying close to the right edge of the road is unsafe. 

Some helpful tips to consider when it comes to bicycle safety according to the Ministry of Transportation are: 

Be Seen & Be Heard: A bicycle should have proper lighting including a front light and reflectors.  Reflective clothing that is appropriate for the time of day is recommended. It is recommended to be ready for sudden stops/swerving from traffic. It is the law in Ontario that bikes have a working bell or horn. 

Handle Your Bike: The MTO provides rule for gear use such as shifting into a low, easy gear before you stop, using low easy gears when going up hill, avoiding pedaling slowly and pushing hard in your highest gears. 

Ride in a Straight Line: The key to riding safely in traffic is riding in a straight line. 

Shoulder Checking: The same way you would check your blind spots before making a turn while driving, you have to check over your shoulders while riding your bicycle to see what the traffic behind you is doing. 

Signalling:  Signalling requires being able to ride with only one hand on the handle bars. It is important to shoulder check before signalling, signal and then make the turn with both hands on the handlebars. 

Braking: In an emergency situation, the ability to stop quickly is crucial. It is important to keep a large amount of space around your bike to allow for reaction time and to stop safely. 

Emergency Handling Skills: The MTO stresses the importance of scanning the road for potential hazards such as debris, potholes and to anticipate errors made by motorists, pedestrians and other cyclists. 

If you or someone you know has been injured as the result of a bicycle or motor vehicle accident, it is important that you contact the experienced Windsor personal injury lawyers at Paciocco & Mellow at (519) 915-SORE (7673). We can provide you with a free, no obligation initial consultation.  

We understand that you may feel overwhelmed as a result of your accident and during the legal process and we strive to provide the best service possible and to help our clients in any way that we can, be it a referral to a specialist, rehabilitation provider, help securing a litigation loan or providing reassurance. 

The law firm of Paciocco & Mellow aims to help provide you with Peace of Mind at a Difficult Time. 

Winter Is Not Giving Up

After a day of almost too-good to be true weather, Winter weather is coming back.  The Weather Network has advised Ontarians to expect a slow start to Spring, which officially starts next week. 

Winter weather is heading towards Windsor with a cold weather alert and Winter Storm Warning for Wednesday and Thursday. Windsor is expected to receive rain, snow and potentially freezing rain. A total of 15 -25 cm of snow is expected to fall in the Windsor region. 

Drivers will face hazardous conditions, as brisk winds will also cause dangerous driving conditions, creating blowing snow.  Winds are expected to reach up to 60km/hour. 

Blowing snow greatly reduces visibility. Environment Canada is warning that snow will quickly become heavy. 

The wintery weather will be dangerous for both drivers and pedestrians. 

We can offer the following advice for drivers and pedestrians: 

  • Pay attention to your surroundings (always check left-centre-right when stopped at an intersection and before proceeding through an intersection, look out for pedestrians and snow plows)
  • Make yourself visible (drivers keep your lights on and pedestrians wear reflective clothing)
  • Beware of black ice (look out for pavement that appears wet and shiny)
  • Yield to snow plows (do not attempt to pass snow plows)
  • Slow down (do not speed, leave room for braking)
  • Stay on the main roads (drive on the roads most travelled, walk on the paths most travelled)

 

Inclement weather means increased risk of collisions and slip and fall injuries, both outside and inside. 

We hope that everyone stays safe on the roads and practices safe driving and that pedestrians practice safe walking. 

The law firm of Paciocco & Mellow prides itself on its reputation of excellent service and client satisfaction. If you have been injured as the result of a motor vehicle accident or slip and fall injury, it is important that you contact the experienced personal injury lawyers at Paciocco & Mellow

A lawsuit is an overwhelming process and we aim to provide reassurance to our clients. We are available to help you through your difficult time and explain the legal process to you, step by step. 

Contact us at (519) 915-SORE (7673). We will be there to assist you with a free, no obligation initial consultation. 

Distracted Driving Fines Increase As of March 18, 2014

The Ontario Government has increased the fine for distracted driving from $155 to $280, making the fine for distracted driving one of the highest in Canada. The increased fine will take effect on March 18, 2014. 

This is the first time the fine has been increased since its introduction in October 2009.

The increased fine includes a $50 victim surcharge fee and $5 court cost. 

Ontario’s government views distracted driving to be as deadly as drunk driving. The Ministry of Transportation reports that distracted driving continues to be a growing problem on Ontario’s roads. 

The Ontario Provincial Police report that distracted driving is a causal factor in 30 to 50 percent of traffic collisions in Ontario, but the statistics may be higher due to under-reporting.   

Recently, Toronto Police ran a campaign called “The Text That Could End Them All” where they used a hearse to catch distracted drivers.  Currently, the OPP are running a campaign that ends on March 14, 2014 targeting distracted drivers. 

Under Ontario law, it is illegal to talk, text, email or hold any type of handheld device while driving. If you want to use your phone, you have to be parked (lawfully- you cannot be in a no parking zone) or safely pulled over. 

In 2013, distracted driving fatalities surpassed both impaired and speed related fatalities in fatal motor vehicle accidents investigated by the OPP. 

Recently, the Globe and Mail published an article about distracted driving and looked at the myth of multitasking. It was even suggested by a driving instructor from Young Drivers of Canada that “a complete overhaul of the culture of driving” is necessary because of all the advances in technology. 

CAA provided information that it takes 33.6 seconds to reply to a text message, 10.6 seconds to answer a cellphone, and 26.7 seconds to answer a GPS. 

Some interesting statistics courtesy of CAA

  • Texting while driving makes a driver 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash or near crash event compared to non-distracted drivers (Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, 2010)
  • 84% of distracted-driving related fatalities in the US were tied to the general classification of carelessness or inattentiveness (U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 2009)
  • 80% of collisions and 65% of near crashes have some form of driver inattention as contributing factors (U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2010)
  • Distracted drivers are 3 times more likely to be in a crash than attentive drivers (Alberta Transportation, 2011)
  • Driver distraction is a factor in 4 million motor vehicle crashes in North America each year (Government of Canada)
  • Economic losses caused by traffic collision-related health care costs and lost productivity are at least $10 billion annually, or about 1% of Canada’s GDP (Government of Canada)
  • In 2010, distracted driving was a contributing factor in 104 collision fatalities in British Columbia (RCMP)
  • International research shows 20-30% of all collisions involve driver distraction (Alberta Transportation, 2011)

 

It is especially important not to text and drive or participate in distracted driving during inclement weather.  Even taking your eyes off the road for a few seconds can be dangerous. Distracted driving puts you and everyone on the road in danger. 

The law firm of Paciocco & Mellow prides itself on its reputation of excellent service and client satisfaction. If you have been injured as the result of a motor vehicle accident, it is important that you contact the experienced personal injury lawyers at Paciocco & Mellow. 

A lawsuit is an overwhelming process and we aim to provide reassurance to our clients. We are available to help you through your difficult time. 

Contact us at (519) 915-SORE (7673). We will be there to assist you with a free, no obligation initial consultation. 

Ontarians Adjusting to Daylight Savings Time

One hour of sleep may seem like a negligible amount of sleep but the reality is, losing an hour of sleep is a big deal. 

This past Sunday was the implementation of Daylight Savings Time, where we lost an hour of sleep so we can gain an hour of daylight.  The issue with adjusting the start and end of daylight is that the body has to adjust as well.  “Spring ahead” can cause restlessness at night and sleepiness during the day. 

According to a study from Neuroscience Letters, daylight savings time compromises the sleep process by decreasing sleep duration and sleep efficiency. 

Daylight Savings Time affects our circadian rhythm, which regulates our sleep cycle.  People may find themselves more fatigued because they do not change their sleep schedule to adapt to the change. 

An article published on TheProvince.com provided some tips for getting a goodnight’s sleep. A professor from Simon Fraser University explained that drivers are more likely to be involved in a fatal car accident on the Monday after daylight savings time. 

Drowsy driving is dangerous to the driver and to others on the road. A drowsy driver has slower reaction time and decreased reflexes. 

UBC professor and sleep expert Dr. Stanley Coren describes our society as chronically sleep-deprived and referred to research that found an increase in traffic and workplace accidents in the 3 days that follow daylight savings time, likely due to sleep deprivation. 

The do’s and don’ts of getting a goodnight’s sleep: 

  • Avoid stimulants close to bedtime; especially avoid coffee in the afternoon
  • Do not consume alcohol too close to bedtime
  • Avoid all electronics 2 hours before bedtime- light provided by cell phones, computers, tablets etc interfere with production of melatonin and serotonin, chemicals involved in sleep maintenance and regulation
  • Do not fall asleep in front of the TV and be aware that the light emitted from your clock radio can disrupt the production of sleep hormones
  • Avoid eating or exercising within a couple hours of going to bed  

 

The law firm of Paciocco & Mellow prides itself on its reputation of excellent service and client satisfaction. 

A lawsuit is an overwhelming process and we aim to provide reassurance to our clients. 

If you or someone you know has been injured as a result of a car accident, please contact the experienced Windsor personal injury lawyers at Paciocco & Mellow at (519) 915-SORE (7673). We will be there to assist you with a free, no obligation initial consultation. 

The law firm of Paciocco & Mellow aims to help provide you with Peace of Mind at a Difficult Time.