A Terrible Tragedy

On a cold February day, the snow is blowing across the highway. The visibility is poor and the road is a sheet of ice. A car stops in the middle of the highway, and a truck doesn’t see it before it is too late. It crashes into the car, killing the driver, leaving the family without a mother and grandmother. Are these tragedies an inevitable factor of driving in bad winter conditions?

Statistics tell us that in BC, the number of accidents that result in serious injury and death double from October to December! How can we reduce the number of fatalities caused by winter driving conditions?



First, tell someone where you are going.

Always notify your family and friends as to where you will be, as you can never have enough people know where you are in case something happens.

Consider the temperature in relation to your tires.

Change to winter tires designed for the cold. Did you know that all season tires start to lose their elasticity after it reaches only 7 degrees Celsius? If you encounter a situation where you need to stop rapidly, without winter tires, breaking is not enough to alter your course and speed. Winter tires are effective to negative 30 degrees Celsius!

Have your vehicle inspected.

Vehicles require regular maintenance and checkups to remain safe and secure. Get your battery inspected before the start of the season and make sure you have the right grade of oil for winter temperatures. Also, check to ensure your lights are in perfect working order so you can see others and others can see you!

Carry a fully charged cell phone.

If you wind up in the ditch or if your car breaks down in a remote area, you need to have a way to communicate for help.

Stay home if the weather is bad.

If you look outside and you can’t see your car in the driveway through the blinding snow, stay home. Do not take uneccissary risks.

If staying inside is not an option, consider these tips to help keep you safe.


Thinking Back

Visualize that cold February day, where a family was left without a loved one. Would she still be here had she, or the truck driver, considered the safety information above? When it comes to winter driving – caution and knowledge is of utmost importance.

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The sun is finally shining in Vancouver and the bikes are out in full force. Before you pedal off, it’s a good idea to brush up on your basic safety tips in order to keep yourself out of harm’s way:

Plan ahead

Plan your route and be sure to choose the safest way of getting there and back. Check out this map of Vancouver bike paths or Bikemaps.org, a fantastic, real-time wayfinding tool.

Follow the rules

Trails and paths across the city have posted rules, so make sure you follow them. Never bike on the sidewalk and always dismount when going through crosswalks. The same goes for crowded spaces. When on the street, bike in the same direction and on the same side as cars. And in case you didn’t know, bikes on our seawall have a speed limit: 15 km/h.

Put a lid on it

If you’re biking in BC, the law requires you wear a helmet. Aside from being the law, helmets can protect the head and reduce the dangers of an impact. Pick one that fits well and make sure the strap fastens securely under your chin.

See and be seen
Always make eye contact with others while you’re passing by. That way, you’ll know each other’s intentions. If you are biking after dark, you must have a white headlight and a rear red light, plus reflectors. Given our West Coast climate, you should also use your lights in foggy or rainy conditions when visibility is reduced. Bright coloured and reflective clothing also help. You definitely don’t want to get hit by a car, so make sure you can be seen.

Avoid the door prize

One of a city cyclist’s biggest dreads is a car door. To minimize the risk of getting ‘doored’, bike at least a meter (or three feet) away from parked cars. Also, avoid weaving in and out of traffic around cars. It makes you harder to see and harder for people in cars to predict where you might be going.

Did you know? ICBC stats show that between June and September of every year, 740 people are injured in collisions between cars and cyclists. That’s six injured cyclists every day! We need to share the road but we also need to share the responsibility for putting safety first.


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Vancouver’s North Shore Mountains are a mountain biker’s paradise. Mountain biking is a thrilling sport but also one of the most dangerous. Here are five mountain bike rules to reduce your risk while riding the trails.


Wear a helmet.

When it comes to mountain bike safety, this is the number one rule.  Make sure your helmet fits properly before you hit the trails!

Gear up.

Safety equipment, like body armour, knee pads and elbow pads, can mean the difference between a small bruise and a broken bone or worse, a brain injury. Serious riders should wear a backpack and neck brace to help prevent injuries to the spine.


Check the weather.

A wet trail will actually allow for your tires to better grip the soil, while dry conditions may cause your bike to slip more easily. If the trails are especially dry, you may want to reduce your speed and even dismount when riding around tight-corner turns.


Pay attention.  

Note obstacles in the trail, like elevated roots, patches of rock, and fallen trees. Pay attention to sharp turns and blind corners – this is where the most serious accidents happen!


Know your limits.

Whether you are a veteran rider or new to the sport, it is important to always stay in control of your bike. Control means more than simply being able to stop; it means prioritizing your ability to react over your need for speed. It takes skill and experience to avoid potentially dangerous situations on the trail, so if a section of the trail exceeds your ability, get off your bike. And, watch out for other riders, joggers, hikers, and dogs.


Did you know?

Vancouver is known as the birthplace of Free-Riding. Every year, thousands of bikers make the trek to the North Shore to experience our trails! Click here to learn more about Free-Riding.



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Back in 2010, Nicole Kelly started with Slater Vecchio as an articled student. She was fresh out of law school and eager to be part of an environment that encouraged learning. Over the years there have been a handful of trials, numerous discoveries and mediations, a wedding, and two babies. Now eight years later, Nicole still brings enthusiasm to her role as a Personal Injury Lawyer.

Keep reading to find out more about Nicole’s journey in Personal Injury law, what she does for fun and her perspective on the concept of work-life balance.


SV: What drew you into personal injury law?

NK: The advice of friends and colleagues – four separate people recommended that I apply at Slater Vecchio for my articles after law school. I didn’t know much about personal injury, but I knew that I liked helping people and I trusted the advice of those who knew me well.


SV: What advice would you give to people who are looking to pursue a career in law?

NK: Go for it!


SV: How do you balance your work and personal life?

NK: Like many people, my work doesn’t end when I leave the office. One thing I find I can do is simply being present with my kids from the time I get home until the time they go to bed – I don’t check my email and try to put work from my mind. I don’t succeed every day, but I do my best.


SV: What do you find to be the most fulfilling aspect of your work at Slater Vecchio?

NK: The toughest but also the most fulfilling part of my work is helping our injured children clients and their families navigate the legal and medical systems toward recovery.


SV: What are you most passionate about in life?

NK: My kids.


SV: What do you do for fun?

NK: I enjoy going out for dinner with friends.


SV: What is the life motto that you live by?

NK: Where there is no struggle, there is no strength – Oprah.


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