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Legal,  Personal Injury Law

How safe are Toronto’s streetcars?

In June, the Toronto Star reported on an analysis of data published by the Toronto police that focused on collisions involving vulnerable road users and Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) vehicles. The article states that streetcars are disproportionately involved in these accidents, accounting for more than half of all fatal collisions with pedestrians and cyclists. The findings are sure to be of interest to any Toronto personal injury lawyer with expertise in accidents involving vulnerable road users.

The TTC is largely omitted from public debate on Toronto’s road safety issues, despite being the third largest public transit system in North America behind only the New York City Transit Authority and the Mexico City Metro. Fatal accidents involving TTC vehicles are relatively rare, after all, and public transit remains one of the safest forms of inner-city travel.

However, no discussion on road safety in Toronto can be complete without considering the TTC’s fleet of roughly 2,000 streetcars and busses, with special attention paid to the former. Between 2007 and 2017, 15 of the 29 fatal collisions between vulnerable road users and TTC vehicles involved streetcars, even though busses make up the majority of the fleet and serve more routes. Last year, streetcars averaged 7.61 collisions per 100,000 miles driven, more than double the rate for busses.

“Streetcars are heavy, don’t stop quickly and can’t swerve to avoid people,” TTC spokesman Stuart Green told the Star in an email. “Despite the training and best efforts of our operators to be defensive at all times, sadly, collisions do occur.”

From a Toronto personal injury lawyer’s point of view, individuals who are injured in collisions with streetcars have as much right to compensation as victims of crashes between private vehicles. However, determining liability in these scenarios can be tricky: When is the vehicle’s driver at fault for damages, and when does the responsibility fall on the municipality? Is the TTC itself ever to blame? As in most personal injury cases, the answer depends on the specifics of the accident. If you’ve been injured, collect as much evidence as possible from the scene and secure the contact information of potential witnesses. These proactive measures can mean the difference between accessing fair compensation and self-funding your recovery.

If you’ve been hurt in an accident involving a public transit vehicle, contact Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers today to arrange a free consultation with an experienced Toronto personal injury lawyer. Our team can assess your legal situation and provide guidance that helps you through your recovery.

Image credit: Danielle Scott/Flickr

Greg Neinstein

Greg Neinstein

Greg Neinstein, B.A. LLB., is the Managing Partner at Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers LLP. His practice focuses on serious injury and complex insurance claims, including motor vehicle accidents, slip and fall injuries, long-term disability claims and insurance claims. Greg has extensive mediation and trial experience and has a reputation among his colleagues as a skillful negotiator.
Greg Neinstein

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