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  • The Biking Lawyer Team

A Law Firm for Cyclists!

Dave and Joel having coffee outside
Photo @hofmarkphotography

The Biking Lawyer LLP was founded by Dave Shellnutt and Joel Zanatta, two lawyers with a shared passion for bikes.

Joel was running a busy personal injury office in British Columbia. As a daily bike commuter he saw the issues faced by cyclists and started a company known as The Cycling Lawyer. The idea was to focus his years of legal experience on representing cyclists.

“I had been practicing personal injury law since 2001. In that time, I had personal and professional experience with the unique nature of bike crash cases. In a system designed to protect motorists, it was clear that cyclists needed their own representation.”

In 2020, the pandemic hit and in his downtime Joel looked beyond BC to see what other cycling advocates and activists were doing across Canada. He stumbled upon a news article about a young lawyer in Toronto who had started The Bike Brigade.

Volunteer cyclists delivering food to those in need. It caught his attention.

Digging deeper, Joel realized that he and Dave were engaged in similar legal advocacy work on behalf of injured cyclists. During the lockdown months they bonded over calls from empty offices. By July 2020, Joel and Dave had joined forces to open The Biking Lawyer LLP in Ontario and The Cycling Lawyer Inc. across the remainder of Canada as a legal resource for cyclists.

Joel grew up on the West Coast. He developed a love for cycling to burn off stress from one of the busiest personal injury practices in the country. Joel rode trails up and down the coast with his dog in tow. His passion for bikes only increased after he parked his car and began commuting to his law firm every day on Vancouver’s superb cycling infrastructure.

Dave fell in love with cycling in much the same way. Riding the trails and roads around Blue Mountain with his dad as a teenager and then becoming a hardened 365 day bike commuter in Toronto throughout the 2000s.

Though both lawyers were drawn to the freedom of cycling, their dedication to road safety and cycling advocacy was born out of fighting tooth and nail for cyclists injured by negligent drivers.

Dave and Joel cycling in urban setting
Photo @hofmarkphotography

Case after case, commute after commute, it was clear what every cyclist was up against.

Cyclists have limited protection and face an increased risk of head injury, fractures, and psychological trauma. Insurance companies, well-versed in the rules of the road for motorists deny claims without any understanding of the rules as they pertain to bikes.

Fighting for cyclists while helping them find the right doctors, rehabilitation specialists and counsellors is how Dave and Joel grew their practice.

A shared goal of helping individual clients achieve maximum medical recovery and fair compensation, coupled with the drive for systemic change in the road safety arena drives the law firm.

“I have been hit in a bike lane and injured. I know what it’s like to drag myself off the road and then months later attempt to get back on the bike. I want to share my experience and understanding with our clients, to help them get back to health.”

Now that they have started to build momentum Joel and Dave have no intention of slowing down.

“We want every cyclist across Canada to know who we are. We ride with you and we fight vigorously to obtain justice on your behalf.”

Dave and Joel on bench
Photo @hofmarkphotography
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