Lawyer Patrick Brown, a member of the Bike Law network in Canada, is lobbying for “vulnerable road user” laws in his region, much like the laws adopted by some U.S. states to protect bicyclists and pedestrians.
Brown was recently interviewed by thestar.com about the need for stiffer penalties for motorists who kill other road users, such as bikers. Tougher laws are definitely needed, Brown says.
Brown’s point was reinforced by the article’s headline: “In our system you can kill a cyclist, pay $500.”
Brown has represented more than 100 cyclists in civil court, and advised another 300, according to the article. Brown recently researched how cycling deaths were treated as the cases wound through the legal system in Ontario, where he practices law.
Brown learned that six of every 10 cycling deaths were the drivers’ fault in whole or part – but that less than one-fourth of those cases resulted in any charges. Brown states in the article:
“In most cases, they charge them with careless driving, but then they’ll plead out to a lower offence — unsafe lane change, failure to yield or turn not safely,” Brown said. “It’s a slap on the wrist.”
Thanks to Patrick and other biking advocates like him who are working to hold motorists accountable when they cause injuries and deaths.
See our November 2015 Bike Law post for more information about vulnerable road user laws.