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You’ve Been in a Cycling Accident Involving a Motor Vehicle – What do you do?

 

As we escape the throes of winter, not only do we welcome warmer sunny weather but so do the nation’s cyclists. However, with beautiful weather, bicycle accidents are at their peak. ICBC estimates that 160 cyclists are injured every month from May to October.

Recently, cyclist Anthony Floyd was involved in a collision when a driver pulled into a cycling lane while attempting to turn left on a busy Vancouver street. Luckily, Floyd was able to slow down his bike before impact and was able to avoid any serious injuries. He also had a mounted camera that recorded the incident, showing the vehicle’s movements before the collision.

Not all cyclists have a mounted camera on their bikes that help their potential legal case after a cycling accident, but there are a number of specific steps you should take immediately after a cycling accident even though, for most people, safeguarding their ‘legal interests’ is the furthest thing from their minds after they’ve just had a close encounter with a car. Unless you’ve been badly injured, your impulse may be to get back on your bike and get going, assuming (hoping) you’re fine. But the reality is that many symptoms will not arise until well after the event. For example, you may have suffered a concussion without necessarily being consciously aware of it, and you may not suffer any symptoms at the time of the accident. As a result, it’s very important to make sure you gather the information you will need to advance a claim for your injuries – just in case.

Note: Even if your injuries do not require immediate medical attention, it is always a good idea to get yourself checked out properly by a medical professional as soon as possible after an accident. Again, this is because of delayed symptom onset. Your doctor is in the best position to assess your condition and provide you with a treatment plan that you should follow to the letter.

Immediately after a cycling accident:

  • Remain calm – the driver of the car that hit you will have his/her side of the story and it’s not the time or place to convince them otherwise. Even if the driver apologizes, it’s still important to gather as much information as you can because there’s a good chance the driver’s insurance company will deny that they were at fault. Also, try to override your natural (Canadian) instinct to apologize – even though it’s not an admission that can be used against you in court, the reality is that it is likely to make it harder to settle your claim (if you end up making one).
  • Get the name and contact information of the driver that hit you, as well as any witnesses. If possible, snap a photo of the license plate of the car that hit you and the accident scene including the location of your bike in relation to the car that hit you.
  • Wait for the police to respond so an objective party can prepare an official report.
  • If an ambulance attends – go to the hospital if it is suggested to you. Take the time to get checked out by a medical professional.
  • If possible, speak to a lawyer before making a statement to ICBC. If you must give a statement (such as to the police), keep it short and to the point.

After you get to your destination:

  • Make a note of the accident (the events leading up to it, and the accident itself) with as much detail as possible. Describe the location of your bike on the roadway at the time of the accident. Include things like road and weather conditions, time of day, and any factors affecting visibility. If the accident happened at night, make a note of any reflective gear you were wearing.
  • If you fell off your bike, where did you land in relation to your bike? Try to think of specific reference points (e.g., your bike was on the curb, you ended up next to the tree across the sidewalk).
  • Make a note of the injuries you suffered – be comprehensive – everything from your toes all the way up to your head, including headaches, nausea, dizziness etc.
  • Take photos of any damage to your bike and clothing. If your helmet was damaged – take photos.

Do not throw away your damaged clothing or cycling gear – it may be useful evidence at trial!

Part 7 Accident Benefits

Many people do not know that they are entitled to certain ICBC benefits (compensation for rehabilitation and medical services for their injuries, as well as compensation for income loss and household assistance – up to $150,000) regardless if they are at fault. You can watch a video on the basics of Part 7 Accident Benefits below:

Alternatively, you can click HERE to download Murphy Battista LLP’s Laymen’s Guide to Part 7 Benefits.

If your accident involved a motor vehicle, chances are you will be eligible for benefits. A cyclist is entitled to benefits if:

  • they are named on an Autoplan policy,
  • are a member of a household with an Autoplan policy, or
  • are hit by a BC-licensed and insured vehicle in BC.

In order to apply for Part 7 benefits, you must:

  • promptly give ICBC notice of the accident involving a motor vehicle (either on-line or by calling ICBC’s dial-a-claim at 604-520-8222 in the Lower Mainland and 1-800-910-4222 elsewhere in BC),
  • provide ICBC with a written report of the accident (short and to the point), and provide ICBC with a proof of claim on the form that will be provided to you by your ICBC adjuster.

It is wise to discuss your application with a lawyer. Most lawyers, including Murphy Battista, offer a free consultation.

If the accident does not involve a motor vehicle you may still have a claim! If you fall off your bike for some other reason (for example, defects in the road, or road construction created an unmarked hazard in the road), it is important to document the incident as much as possible by taking photos of the scene of the accident, obtaining contact information from witnesses, and making a note of your injuries and the damage to your bike. For photos of holes/cracks in the road, include an object (i.e. a pen, shoe, wallet) in the photo to provide context for the size of the hazard. Consult a lawyer as soon as possible as there are strict limitations dates that apply if the negligent party is a municipality.

If you have questions about a cycling accident you are welcome to contact us.

Note: a earlier version of this article was first published in December 2015. This post was updated to include new information and examples

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Scotiabank Half-Marathon Charity Challenge in Support of Spinal Cord Injury BC
Kyle Gieni, Resource Coordinator, PIRC
June 21, 2018

Scotiabank Half-Marathon Charity Challenge in Support of Spinal Cord Injury BC

Kyle.A.Gieni

It is hard to believe this weekend on June 24th marks the 20th anniversary of the Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon, it also hard to believe 1998 was 20 years ago. This year marks the 4th time that I will be participating in this particular race. But for me, it is much more than a race for personal gain. This is an opportunity to come together, by the thousands, and help to support great causes along the 21.1-kilometre path. This year I will be wheeling the half marathon in support of Spinal Cord Injury BC. SCI BC is a charitable organization not only built to offer support to those who have incurred a spinal cord injury, but also those with non-traumatic spinal cord complications such as spina bifida.

Back in 2009, I was coming down with infection after infection and I could not perform my duties as a Probation Officer any longer. Eventually, I lost my job, which left me with no funds to pay for rent at my non-wheelchair accessible apartment in Surrey. I then contacted SCI BC to see if they had any openings for wheelchair accessible units. Luckily, there was a unit in Kitsilano which was being vacated at that time, which was fully wheelchair accessible from the roll-in shower, to the wheel-under sinks, to the patio out the back door, to the accessible roof-top patio. Lucky for me, this place also had a subsidy available for people with low income. Spinal Cord Injury BC helps in many ways including finding accessible housing for people who need it.

SCI BC offers a resource centre, a peer support program, and a magazine called The Spin. All of these work together to improve the lives of people with mobility issues. For the Scotiabank Charity Challenge, we are at 80% of our goal of raising $60,000. Murphy Battista is getting in on the action where they are going to match donations made by their staff. So far, a special thank you goes out to Samir Ibrahim, Cecilia Kwok, Kevin Gourlay, Leyna Roenspies, Aaron Wadley, Summer Kelly and Laurie Ruggles. Your generous donations will go a long way in helping people with spinal cord injuries.

The half-marathon will be starting at UBC, going along SW Marine Drive to NW Marine Drive past Wreck Beach, down the hill past Spanish Banks and Locarno Beach, up to 4th Ave then along Point Grey Rd to Cornwall Ave, past Kitsilano Beach and the Maritime Museum, over the Burrard Bridge, past Sunset Beach and English Bay, eventually ending in Stanley Park. Last time I set a personal record of 1hour 43minutes.

With your help, I am hoping to set another personal best and win the wheelchair division. Please visit my donation site at: Scotiabank Charity Challenge 

Thank you for your support! Let’s keep the good times Rollin’!

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National Sledge Hockey Championship 2018
Kyle Gieni, Resource Coordinator, PIRC

National Sledge Hockey Championship 2018

Sledge Hockey BC

The BC Provincial Sledge Hockey team played in the 3rd annual National Sledge Hockey Championship held at the Richmond Olympic Oval this year. The tournament took place May 11-13 and played host to incredible action from four of the top teams from across the country, including two-time defending champs Alberta, a young and fast Ontario squad, and a big, strong team from Quebec. Team BC rostered myself to the squad, but a sprained wrist kept me out of the line-up and on the bench running the offence gate for line changes. It was an honour to make the team after so much hard work, and it was a pure pleasure to be there for my teammates while they played their hearts out.

Two weeks earlier, two BC players were invited to the team Canada developmental camp where these players were on the radar to get the call from the national team to one day play for their home country. One of the players, goalie Trent Seymour from Prince George, BC, made the developmental team as this was his second tryout with the squad.

This year at nationals, Quebec opened up the tournament with a 2-1 win over Ontario, where Quebec scored the game-winner in overtime. BC played their first game against Alberta Friday morning, with Alberta dominating play and never letting a shot past their goalie. Team BC played a great positional game but could not keep up with the fast pace of a team that had a handful of members from the Canadian developmental team. Alberta took BC by a score of 8-0. Alberta had a quick turn-around to play Quebec Friday afternoon and ended up winning that game by a score of 4-0. Team BC then played team Ontario on Friday evening and Ontario never let up the whole game, winning by a score of 7-0.

On the morning of Saturday, May 12th, Alberta met Ontario in one of the best games I have ever seen. This match went back and forth and ultimately Alberta got the advantage, winning 3-2. As the tournament progressed so did the skill level of team BC. We met Quebec for our first match of the day, only losing by a score of 6-0. After winning all of their round-robin games, Alberta was ranked number one and since BC had lost all of their games, they would be 4th seed. BC was getting better in the grand scale and would look forward to shocking the defending champions in the 1st vs. 4th place game for a birth into the finals. Quebec would play Ontario first in the game that saw 2nd vs. 3rd place. Quebec also won their game against Ontario by a score of 5-3 in one of the chippiest games of the tournament.

In the 1st vs. 4th place game of Alberta vs. BC, Alberta took a quick 1-0 lead in the first period. BC player Kyle Evans then scored their first (and only) goal of the tournament from a sweet feed from line-mate Riley Molnar, allowing BC to take the two-time defending champions into the first intermission with a 1-1 tie. Team BC was elated to have the Albertans sweating all through the 15-minute intermission break wondering what had just happened. The second period, however, was never friendly to the British Columbians in this tournament. Alberta peppered our goalie relentlessly firing 15 shots in this period and gaining a 5-1 edge by the end of the second. At the beginning of the third period, goalie Trent Seymour went down with a sprained shoulder after blocking a shot. Backup goalie Philipe Bonnot got the call and dazzled the crowd making 14 saves on 15 shots. While the score ended up 6-1, the BC squad could hold their heads up high knowing they gave the defending champs a run for their money.

On Sunday May 13th, BC played Ontario for a chance to win the bronze medal. While BC kept up with team Ontario and had a much better game than the first 7-0 defeat two days prior, BC still gave up 5 goals and ended up finishing in 4th place with a 5-0 loss. In the championship game, Alberta took a 1-0 lead in the 2nd period and never gave an inch to the Quebec team, winning the game by a score of 1-0. The Albertans were excited to win the national championship for the third year in a row, while team BC could look forward to improving on their 4th place showing at home this year in Richmond.

Ontario will host this tournament in 2019 and you can expect team British Columbia to take what they learned this year to improve, work even harder, and make the push to play for the gold medal next year.

If you would like more information on sledge hockey and where to play in BC, please visit:

http://sportabilitybc.ca/programs/sledge-hockey/

 

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Tips for Travelling with a Spinal Cord Injury

Traveling with a spinal cord injury

With the holiday season behind us, and several months to go with the winter weather many people take this time to get outta dodge and find some sunshine! Here are some of my personal observations and suggestions for travelling with a disability.

Prescription medication — Don’t pack it in your suitcase

This is probably a no-brainer for everyone, but it’s so important I thought I’d include it regardless. Especially if you’re flying somewhere, keep your meds with you in your carry-on. I personally keep an entire supply, with a bit of extra, regardless of how long I’m travelling for. Clothes and toothbrushes are easily replaced, many prescription medications are not. My luggage has been lost before, and it’s because I kept my meds on me that my trip was hardly inconvenienced.  I was going to Koh Lanta in Thailand, I bought myself a bathing suit and just lived in that until my luggage finally arrived.

It’s also important to do your research and keep medical prescriptions on hand. Some countries don’t allow medications that are commonly used in North America. For example, “It is illegal to bring into Japan some over-the-counter medicines commonly used in the United States, including some inhalers and some allergy and sinus medications.”[1] Every country has it’s own rules and regulations. Make sure to check first. No matter where you’re going, it’s a good idea to keep a healthy supply of meds, and proof the meds are prescription. This can save a lot of headache, and can save a trip entirely. No one wants to be caught in a pain flare-up or potentially life threatening situation because meds have been lost or confiscated.

Communicate as much as possible about your disability and specific needs

In my experience, I’ve found communicating as much as possible about my disability and specific needs, and being as friendly as possible, has served me well. Most people and places want to help, and if they’re given enough notice and information, they’ll make sure your trip goes as comfortably and successfully as possible. It can be hard for the airports, busses, or hotels to accommodate you at the last minute. They’ll be unprepared and scrambling. Also, if something does go wrong and you still find yourself in trouble, you’ve done everything right, and they’re much more likely to bend over backwards to make it up to you.

Take advantage of the perks

One of the hard facts about travelling with a disability is you’re going to be inconvenienced in extra ways, and you’re going to miss out on some things. This world just isn’t up to accessibility standards. Even if you do everything right, communicate your face off, and prepare as much as possible, you’ll encounter people who are improperly trained, ignorant, or just plain make mistakes because, lets face it, no one’s infallible. There will be accessibility fails everywhere; in Bali, the sidewalks had massive, deep holes and were simply covered with old slabs of wood. Ridiculous. BUT, there are many ways in which people with disabilities are, in a sense, compensated for that. First to board? Yes! Possible bumps to first class? Oh ya, baby. Free tickets for attendants? Take it! In my opinion, take advantage of every opportunity you’re presented with. You’ll face extra bumps on the road, so indulge in the free champagne you might be offered. It makes the bumps more fun anyway.

Talk to friends, family, and other experienced travelers.

Adventure awaits you, whether you’re headed south to sunshine or just over to family you haven’t seen in ages. A great way to find out options and opportunities is to chat with everyone you possibly can! It’s amazing the little gems you can learn about from other people’s experiences. And also the little hacks about places you might never have known or experienced without their input.

Happy travels!

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Disclaimer

Information provided in our blog posts is not intended to be legal advice.

The outcome of every legal proceeding will vary according to the facts and unique circumstances in each individual case. References to successful case results where the lawyers at Murphy Battista LLP have acted for clients are not necessarily a guarantee or indicative of future results.