P.E.I. driver sues city after hitting and paralyzing cyclist

The driver claims that the bike lane where the accident occurred is unsafe, in disrepair and helped cause the accident.
The driver claims that the bike lane where the accident occurred is unsafe, in disrepair and helped cause the accident. (Photo: iStock)

A driver, who was found guilty by a Prince Edward Island provincial court in September for making an unsafe turn which led to a cyclist being paralyzed, has turned around and is suing the City of Charlottetown for the accident.

Jordan Arsenault-Loeman’s car collided with Alan Stanley’s bike at Brackley Point Road in Charlottetown when Arsenault-Loeman was making a left turn in August 2015.

The accident left Stanley a paraplegic who is confined to his wheelchair for the rest of his life. A witness told the court that Stanley flew over the car’s hood, spun in the air and then landed on his head.

After the accident Stanley started a lawsuit against Arsenault-Loeman for negligence for not ensuring the way was clear before making the left turn, while Arsenault-Loeman claims that Stanley didn’t keep a proper lookout for cars.

Meanwhile, a provincial judge ruled in September that Arsenault-Loeman is guilty of making an unsafe left turn under the P.E.I. Highway Traffic Act.

However, Arsenault-Loeman was not willing to accept sole blame for the accident and is now suing the city. He claims that the bike lane Stanley used when the accident occured is unsafe, in disrepair and helped cause the accident.

While it’s not unusual for a person to sue the city for an accident, what is unusual about this case that it’s the driver of the car who is suing the city for an allegedly unsafe bike lane.

In Ontario, the Court of Appeal has recognized that the city has a duty towards cyclist to provide safe passage. That means the city must keep the roads and bike lanes in a “reasonable state of repair.”

Prince Edward Island’s rules aren’t likely to be much different, which is why such a lawsuit could potentially succeed.

He’s arguing that the bike lanes as installed by the municipality aren’t safe. . .That could create liability on the part of the municipality,” John Mascarin, a partner at Aird & Berlis LLP in Toronto and professor of municipal and planning law, told Yahoo Canada News.

Though the lawsuit has not yet been served on the city, a City of Charlottetown spokesperson said they’re aware of it.

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