failure to afford reasonable opportunity to avoid collision

djfrank14
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failure to afford reasonable opportunity to avoid collision

by: djfrank14 on
Tue Jun 01, 2010 9:17 pm

Hey everybody,

I definitely need some advice here. I just received a ticket for an Improper Left this evening and I`m weighing my options for what to do within the next 15 days. Here`s the scenario:

I was at a red light waiting to turn left at an intersection. It`s approximately 6:50 pm and Im facing NNW. I cannot see much through my windshield but I can see where Im turning through my drivers window and when the light turned green, i proceeded to do so.

As I passed from the sunny intersection into the shaded crosswalk, my windshield became usable again and there was a man riding a bicycle directly in front of my car, no more than 4 inches in front of me. I slammed the brakes because there was no other direction for me to turn to avoid a collision, and the car hit the cyclist.

The cyclist landed on his feet, then stumbled and fell to the ground. He then quickly jumped up and started yelling at me for being in the wrong and taking his right of way. A witness called the police immediately. The man told the witnesses and bystanders he was fine and wanted to go home but they would not let him. The police interviewed witnesses but only 1 or 2 actually saw the collision, the rest rather heard it or ran after the crowd of people. The police did not question the passenger in my vehicle.

I need to know what my options are here. Is it against the law for a cyclist to bike on the sidewalk or through a crosswalk where there is no bicycle path in the GTA? Does the glare on my windshield somehow make me innocent? Do the witnesses testimonies become void knowing that the police did not interview all witnesses (ie: the one in my vehicle)

I have take pictures of the intersection from the direction I was driving to show the glare and the situation I was posed with.

Any help would be greatly appreciated,

Thank you!


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Simon Borys
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by: Simon Borys on
Tue Jun 01, 2010 10:02 pm

djfrank14 wrote:Is it against the law for a cyclist to bike on the sidewalk or through a crosswalk where there is no bicycle path in the GTA? Does the glare on my windshield somehow make me innocent? Do the witnesses testimonies become void knowing that the police did not interview all witnesses (ie: the one in my vehicle)
It is against the law for cyclists to ride through an intersection, but in a case like this one wrong does not excuse another. If anything, your reduced visibility only ADDS to your culpability. The onus is on you not to move until it can be done so in safety and if you can't see you can't be sure it's safe, and in this case it wasn't. In the interests of a completely thorough investigation it's nice to interview all the witnesses and passengers, but in reality that doesn't always happen due to expediency and efficiency. The officer may have just assessed who of the witnesses could give him sufficient evidence to lay a charge and then just taken statements from them.

The only thing I would suggest about your particular charge is that fail to afford reasonable opportunity to avoid a collision is a terrible charge to lay. "Reasonable opportunity" is such an ambiguous term. The burden is on the crown in this case to define reasonable opportunity and show how you failed to afford it. In the jurisdiction I worked in the crown had a standing order than we were not to lay that charge, but instead use turn not in safety. It applies to all the same situations and the elements are far easier to prove.
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djfrank14
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by: djfrank14 on
Tue Jun 01, 2010 10:08 pm

Thanks for the reply. So, I assume you would suggest pleading guilty with an explanation rather than pleading not guilty and waltzing into a trial?


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by: Simon Borys on
Wed Jun 02, 2010 12:23 am

I don't want to give you specific legal advice on your situation. If it were me I would probably want to see the disclosure and weigh my options and perhaps seek a plea. I'm not a fan of fighting everything just out of principle,i especially if you acknowledge fault. It's a waste of the courts time and it doesn't allow people to accept responsibility for their actions. But the onus is still on the crown to prove the offence, and in this case, because of the offence they chose to lay, I think it's a bit tougher to prove so I might want to see how they were going to do that.
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hwybear
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by: hwybear on
Wed Jun 02, 2010 8:59 am

I'm curious, what type of green light were you at?
(ie: advance flashing green, green arrow or solid green)

What direction was the bicycle travelling in relation to you, prior to the turn?
Above is merely a suggestion/thought and in no way constitutes legal advice or views of my employer. www.OHTA.ca


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