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Cyclist allegedly distracted by cellphone charged after colliding with transport

Canadian Press THE CANADIAN PRESS

SOUTH-WEST OXFORD TOWNSHIP, Ont. — Provincial police say a cyclist, allegedly distracted by his cellphone, is facing a charge after colliding with a transport truck in southwestern Ontario.

Police say the collision occurred on Tuesday morning in South-West Oxford Township, Ont.

Investigators say the cyclist collided with the trailer on the truck at an intersection.

They say the driver of the transport, a 39-year-old Huron East, Ont. man, had swerved in an attempt to avoid the crash.

OPP say the cyclist was taken to hospital for treatment of minor injuries.

A 20-year-old Woodstock, Ont., man is charged with failing to yield to traffic on a through highway.

In an interview with AdvocateDaily.com, Toronto personal injury lawyer Jennifer Hoffman says there has been mounting pressure recently to implement changes and find a solution to accidents involving cyclists.

“In a recent study by Campaign Research, polls show an overwhelming majority of people want more bike lanes and accountability for cyclists who fail to follow the rules, with some calling for a system of insuring bikes much like motor vehicles,” says Hoffman, a partner with Wolfe Lawyers.

She points out that riders on two wheels are bound by the same rules of the road as drivers, but research on accountability for cyclists can be interpreted as a public perception that they don't abide by them.

“Cyclists and drivers need to share the roads and both parties have to ensure they’re abiding by rules that make our roads safe,” Hoffman says. “Up until recently, there was very little, if any, accountability for cyclists failing to follow the rules. By charging the rider in this case, it sends the message that everyone, whether on bicycles or cars, will be held to the same standards, in order to ensure the roads are safe for everyone’s use.”

There is a clear perception that cyclists have been more lax when it comes to road safety, likely due to the fact they rarely faced penalties, Hoffman says.

“For example, a distracted driver who causes an accident because they were on their phone would face multiple charges under the Highway Traffic Act, including driving with a handheld device, which carries the penalty of a fine and demerit points,” she says. “Although we are starting to see some accountability for cyclists, in this case, the rider was only charged with failure to yield.”

``This is a reminder for everyone to put their technology away so they can focus their attention on the task at hand,'' OPP Const. Ed Sanchuk said Wednesday in a release.

© 2018 The Canadian Press

— with files from AdvocateDaily.com

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