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McLeish Orlando: Nick Todorovic and Danika Winkel, Summer Student

Commute to lawsuit

Written By: Nick Todorovic and Danika Winkel, Summer Student 

Within the GTA, changes have been made in recent years in an attempt to cut down on driver error and improve the safety of public transit within the city. These initiatives include more rigorous training for new drivers, a 25 km/h speed restriction for streetcars passing through intersections, and relaxed bus schedules to encourage drivers to slow down.[1]

Despite these changes, injuries keep occurring. In order to help keep you safe, the lawyers at McLeish Orlando have compiled a list of some of their best strategies for avoiding injury, while riding the subway, the train or the bus.

Subway/Train Safety Tips

  1. Never rush towards the doors of a subway car, especially when the door chimes are sounding and the orange light in the doorway is flashing, as this indicates that the doors are closing.
  2. Do not block train doors. Keep doors clear so passengers can enter and exit easily
  3. If using a mobility device, face directly towards the doors and ensure that you have enough room to approach the train so that your front wheels do not turn sideways. Enter the train carefully, but not too slowly, making sure to mind the gap between the train and the platform. Do not enter at an angle.
  4. When boarding and exiting trains, always mind the gap on the floor between the platform edge and the subway car.
  5. Always allow train passengers to leave the car first before you board.
  6. If using a mobility device, face directly towards the doors and ensure that you have enough room to approach the train so that your front wheels do not turn sideways. Enter the train carefully, but not too slowly, making sure to mind the gap between the train and the platform. Do not enter at an angle.

Bus Safety Tips

  1. Always stop when school buses are loading or unloading. It's the law!
  2. When driving near a bus, keep in mind that they make frequent, sometimes sudden stops. Do not follow too closely. 
  3. A bus cannot stop as quickly as a car can. Be aware of buses traveling directly behind you, especially in dicey weather.
  4. Busses have a wide turning radius. Ensure you are well behind the white stop lines at any intersection, especially when you are closest to the turning lane.
  5. Your blind spot is nothing compared to that of a bus. The blind spots on a bus are located in front of the bus, behind the bus, and to each side. Avoid traveling in any of the blind spots—the driver cannot see you.

In addition, in the event that you are injured by another passenger on your train, bus or subway ride, it is unlikely that you would be able to successfully sue the transit company or transit operator. In 2013, a young man named Ezra Clarke sustained injuries during an altercation with another passenger while riding a TTC bus. Several allegations of negligence were made against the defendant driver, including that he should not have let the alleged assailant board the bus, that he should have stopped the bus when the argument first broke out, and that he failed to intervene physically or verbally in the fight. None of these were found to be a basis for a finding of negligence. In his decision, the Judge stated that "it has long been the law in Canada that common carriers like TTC are not insurers of passengers' safety. The duty of carriers is to use all due, proper and reasonable care.”[2]

[1] Spurr, Ben, "Bus and Streetcar Safety Plan Is Saving Lives, TTC Says." The Star. March 17, 2017. Accessed July 9, 2018. https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2017/03/17/bus-and-streetcar-safety-plan-is-saving-lives-ttc-says.html.

[2] Clarke v. Toronto Transit Commission, 2013 ONSC 2287.

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