TTC Ordered to Pay Cyclist for Injuries

Last month, a Toronto cyclist won a surprising legal victory in a civil suit against the city. Compensation is rarely available to cyclists injured in solo crashes, but in some cases the municipality in which the crash occurs may be responsible. Compensation in this case was modest – the plaintiff received $3,712.14 – but the result should give hope to injured cyclists and the bicycle accident lawyers that represent them.

In November 2015, Michael Andreae suffered minor injuries when his bicycle wheel got caught in an uneven streetcar track near the corner of Wellington and York Streets in downtown Toronto. He sustained a cut to his elbow which required seven stitches and physiotherapy. He was left with a five-centimetre scar and occasional tingling sensation at the site of the injury.

In his lawsuit, Andreae alleged that the Toronto Transit Commission’s (TTC) failure to repair the uneven track was the primary cause of his accident, and that the City was thus liable for his injuries. Justice Joanna Chadwick accepted that the 10 mm difference in height between the track’s two rails created an “objectively unreasonable risk of harm” to cyclists, and that the TTC had plenty of time to fix it.

“The streetcar in that lane had been installed in the early 1990s, over 25 years before the fall,” she noted in her decision, according to CBC Toronto.

Justice Chadwick decided that Andreae and the city were each 50 per cent responsible for the accident and valued the damages at $7,424.28.

For the plaintiff, the case was less about money than improving safety on Toronto streets.

“If somebody doesn’t force change or do something, you know, to keep all road users safe – pedestrians and cyclists and everybody – we’re not going to see change,” he told the CBC.

Most Toronto bicycle accident lawyers will agree that streetcar tracks are dangerous to cyclists. However, in order for the city to be liable for an accident, the victim must prove that it failed to maintain the track to an adequate standard, which can be challenging. Andreae’s injuries were minor compared to the clients we work with at Will Davidson LLP, but his case showed that the City of Toronto has a duty to protect vulnerable road users from unnecessary risks. 

If you or a member of your family has been seriously injured in a bicycle accident, contact Will Davidson LLP to learn how our team of experienced bicycle accident lawyers can help. We would be happy to arrange a free consultation to discuss the viability of your claim and provide guidance for moving forward.

Image credit: Henrik Moltke/Wikimedia Commons

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