The lawyers at Aaron Waxman & Associates are experienced with Disability, Personal Injury and Employment claims.
Just in time for your long weekend, this blog will discuss common summer safety concerns and provide you with some long-weekend safety tips (but you can consider these tips for use all-year round).
Driver Distractions & Road Safety
Fines and penalties for distracted driving are changing effective January 1, 2019, which you can read about in our blog here. Fines will increase, and penalties will include license suspension. This speaks to how much of a problem distracted driving is in Ontario.
Another road safety issue is the failure to yield when emergency vehicles that are stopped. This weekend, the Ontario Provincial Police are having a safety blitz to target drivers that are not slowing down and moving over when an emergency vehicle is stopped on the highway. Currently, the penalty for failure to do so is six demerit points and a fine of $490. It is important to note that you must slow down and move over to the next lane if you are on a multi-lane highway when you observe not just an emergency vehicle with their lights flashing, but also a tow truck with lights flashing. In 2017, there were a total of 2,137 charges against drivers that failed to move over for emergency vehicles.
Rain or shine, road safety is always important. When you hit the road this weekend, consider these important safety tips:
Today’s motorcycles are quite powerful and fast compared to the bikes of 10-20 years ago. It is suggested that you attend a training program before you start riding long distances or riding with passengers. It is recommended that motorcycle rides wear a helmet and protective gear included proper clothing, eyewear and closed-toe footwear. An article from Consumer Reports explains that leather is the best choice (even in the summer).
A recent study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal revealed the following:
As with any on-road vehicle, you should not operate or ride a motorcycle while distracted or impaired. Texting while operating a motorcycle is dangerous and anything that can impact your ability to focus on the road endangers your life and the lives of others on the road.
Before you ride, think about these safety tips:
It is important to be an informed cyclist and know the rules of the road, particularly if you ride your bike in a busy city. Cyclists are subject to the Highway Traffic Act (HTA), and bicycles are defined as “vehicles”, meaning they belong on the road and not the sidewalk, cyclists need to be aware that they can actually be charged for committing offences just like a driver of a car can be. A cyclist must obey all traffic laws, is subject to the same rights and responsibilities as drivers and cannot carry passengers if the bicycle is meant for only one person.
The Ministry of Transportation (MOT) website says that it is very important that cyclists know to ride their bicycles as close to the right edge of the road whenever possible. There are also certain roadways a cyclist is not allowed to ride a bicycle on such as any of the 400-series highways, and on any roadway within a pedestrian crossover. If there is a pedestrian cross-over, a cyclist must walk his/her bicycle to the other side. It is important to note that cyclists aged 14 and over are not legally allowed to ride their bicycles on Toronto’s sidewalks.
It is mandatory for riders under the age of 18 to wear a helmet, but an approved bicycle helmet can greatly reduce the risk of head injury to the rider in the event of a car accident/collision or a fall.
According to the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA), approximately 7,500 cyclists are seriously injured yearly, with most collisions occurring during afternoon rush hour.
Here are some other important statistics to think about:
How can you stay safe as a cyclist?
Distraction is not just an issue with drivers, it is becoming an issue with pedestrians. In 2016, there was the Pokémon GO craze which was rather distracting and resulted in erratic driving and pedestrians not paying attention to where they were walking. A recent study from the University of British Columbia found that people walking while looking down at their phones actually walk slower and were less steady on their feet. The study found that more than a third of pedestrians were distracted by their cellphones and had trouble maintaining their walking speed. This increases the potential for an accident to happen as it means pedestrians are taking longer to cross the street. Distracted pedestrians also have slower reaction times.
Here are some helpful tips:
Many people may use the long weekend as an opportunity to go camping and go to cottages. It is important to practice awareness regarding Lyme disease. Activities such as camping, hiking, fishing, hunting and even golfing can put you at higher risk for exposure to ticks.
In a previous blog post we have discussed Lyme disease, the range of symptoms it causes and some prevention tips. It is important to be aware of areas that are conducive to back-legged ticks (deer ticks) and where a person could contract Lyme disease as the symptoms of Lyme disease may resemble a variety of other conditions, making it very difficult to diagnose. Areas where back-legged ticks typically are found include forests and overgrown areas between woods and open spaces. They tend to thrive in wet environments, woodlands, tall grass and bushes.
According to the Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation, Lyme disease is the most treatable at the early infection stage and becomes harder to treat and diagnose as time goes on. Symptoms become worse as time passes without treatment or proper diagnosis and can appear quickly, or gradually over time.
Some prevention tips you may want to consider are:
We’re expecting a heat wave this weekend. We have already experiencing a couple heat warnings this summer. A heat warning is issued if a region has 2 consecutive days of daytime temperatures of at least 31◦ C and overnight lows of at least 20◦ C.
The heat warnings are issues to put at-risk groups on alert/people who care for them to watch out for signs of heat related illness. Groups at increased risk include seniors, infants and children, people with chronic illnesses (heart or respiratory conditions), those with limited mobility, on certain medications), people who work or exercise in the heat, homeless people and people on the low end of the socio-economic scale. Heat related illness includes heat stroke, headache, dizziness or fainting, nausea or vomiting, rapid breathing/heartbeat and extreme thirst. It can also include swelling, rash, heat exhaustion and worsening of some health conditions.
Suggested tips for preventing heat-related illness include:
Summer time is prime time for swimmers and boaters. It is important to know how to keep yourself and others safe.
A few suggestions for water safety include:
And, of course, on a long-weekend, people enjoy watching fireworks. Setting off fireworks can become dangerous and it is important to consider the following tips from Natural Resources Canada:
We hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable long-weekend!
The lawyers at Aaron Waxman and Associates have helped clients who have been in car accidents, who have sustained injuries due to slip and fall accidents and who have had short-term and long-term disability claims denied by their insurance companies. We offer a free initial consultation with a licensed lawyer at a date and time that is convenient for you.
* This blog is for informational purposes only and is not meant to substitute legal advice. Please read our disclaimer for further information.
* All of our lawyers are licensed by The Law Society of Upper Canada
* Office in Toronto and able to represent people in the province of Ontario