Barriers to Recovery - Toronto Police are Failing Injured Cyclists
December 2, 2019
Chief Mark Saunders
Toronto Police Service
40 College Street
Toronto, ON M5G 2J3
Dear Chief Saunders,
Re: Motor Vehicle Accident Reports & Protecting Injured Cyclists
In the last 6 months, I have witnessed a worrying trend amongst the Toronto Police Service when it comes to supporting people injured while riding their bikes after a car crash or dooring. On numerous occasions I have witnessed Toronto Police officers refusing to provide Motor Vehicle Accident Reports or insurance information to injured cyclists. By not providing this report, injured people are not able to access insurance information. Without the insurance information, injured people are not getting access to their legally entitled and much needed no-fault Accident Benefits.
I have had several cases where officers have failed or even refused to provide MVA Reports to an injured person.
In some cases, TPS officers have suggested that the injured person physically travel to Police Headquarters at College and Yonge to pay for and file a Freedom of Information request. Asking someone with injuries and mobility restrictions to travel, sometimes great distance where a report can be emailed is absurd. Further, FOI requests take time to produce, thereby prolonging the period that crash victims are not receiving treatment, directly contributing to the worsening of their injuries.
I have also seen numerous FOI requests come back with vital insurance information redacted making the entire exercise pointless. In these cases, the injured person is weeks later no closer to receiving the medical care they are entitled to.
I would ask that you please ensure that the TPS has a uniform policy to provide injured people, or anyone involved in a dooring or motor vehicle accident with a copy of the related MVA Report and/or driver insurance information immediately upon request from the injured person.
Failing to provide MVA Reports creates 2 problems (at least):
1) It furthers the harm done to an injured person. By not providing relevant insurance information victims do not get access to Accident Benefits. Delays to their treatment and recovery can make their injuries worse (this could pose a liability and ligation risk on the TPS).
2) Injured persons denied access to involved parties’ insurance are forced to apply to the Motor Vehicle Accident Fund. This creates needless headaches for the victim and the MVACF, not to mention the unnecessary and significant cost burden on Ontario taxpayers.
I would happily discuss my concerns, specific cases with you, and suggested remedies.
My goal above all else is to ensure injured people are respected and supported by the public officials responsible for assisting them. Crash victims should not have to retain a lawyer simply to get MVA Reports to crashes they were involved in.
CC: Mayor John Tory, Toronto Ombudsman, MVACF, News Media