Sunday, November 18, 2007


I was riding westbound on the Lakeshore bike lane this afternoon when about 25 metres in front of me, at the corner of Logan and Lakeshore, another rider was crossing into the intersection on a green light.  He was moving pretty fast when he was suddenly cut off by a driver making a right turn up Logan.  He swerved to avoid the car. His bike slid out from under him and careened into the intersection, while he flew off the bike and hit the pavement.

The driver didn't stop - just carried on, perhaps oblivious to what had happened. When I got to the cyclist he was still lying on the pavement face down. He was spitting blood, his face was a mess, his arm was broken (at least it looked it), he was in shock, but he was conscious. The second person on the scene was an off-duty paramedic who happened to be driving by. I rescued the guy's bike from the road, the paramedic checked him out and called an ambulance. We hung out on the side of the road and waited for them to come and figured out what to do with his bicycle.

It scares me when I think that it could easily have been me riding into that intersection. It really scares me when I think about how much worse the ending to this story could have been. It pisses me off that the city creates infrastructure for cyclists that puts them at danger. It is unfathomable and beyond infuriating to me that the driver didn't see what happened and just drove away.


Anonymous said...

You might know better how to pass these on than me. They are
quite touching and I think they help communicate the immediacy of the
need we have to hold motorists responsible for their actions:

^the mp3 of Susie Kubota speaking in remembrance of her niece Tracy
Sparling suggests we re-evaluate the issue with motormutilation. If
motorists will not take responsibility for their actions they should be
denied the privilege of driving period.

"Lee Ann Barry, was hit by a car at 5 1/2, leaving her in a coma and
partially paralyzed with tremors. She underwent brain surgery as a teen,
which helped her lose some of the tremors and made her feel that she

"was finally able to do the things I remember doing as a young child
... My faith grew stronger, and I knew in my heart that anything was
possible," she wrote."

I hadn't realised she was the founder of the BIG ride.

"n late October, 27 miles from the end of the 2007 journey, she - and
another cyclists - was hit by a car for a second time. There's a story
about her here."

Anyway, please read the entire thing and pass along to someone
likely to find good use in persuading the Ministry of Transportation
and various enforcement bodies begin taking ITS responsibility seriously.


Darren said...

Unfortunately one is so disconnected from society when they are behind all of that glass and metal. Your story symbolizes it quite well.

Did anyone catch the license plate?

hannah said...

in answer to darren's question - no one caught the license plate or even a good description of the car.

Tino said...

Holy shit! My heart goes out to that guy. So scary. If you are in touch with him and he needs anything let me know.

Thank you for reporting this. Hannah. I am glad you were there for him.

Anonymous said...

And that sort of experience, as witness or victim, is exactly why we cyclists have such a bad attitude! That is why I tell anyone who wants to ride that there are two ways to better their chances of survival: assume every driver is an ignorant dick, because you'll be too often proven correct; and obeying the law is much less important than getting home. Only look out for pedestrians and cyclists; cars can find well enough for themselves.

brandon said...

its a jungle out there. i know i've been there, racing down the street wind fluttering my cheeks... into the ride... into the responsiveness of the thrust in my pedal...

you just never know what can happen next. be safe, be cautious, comrades.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you were there for him, Hannah.
This is a fairly safe intersection, it's wide open and everyone can see each other. I don't know how it can be improved, I wouldn't blame the infrastructure in this instance.
Some drivers just need to wake up and be fully alert.

hannah said...

I disagree with the last post. As much as I like the separated lane on Lakeshore East, the intersections are absolutely a case where infrastructure is failing cyclists.

Cyclists are given a green light to go into an intersection from a safe, separated path leads into a roadway where drivers are not even remotely aware of their presence.

Here are some ways the infrastructure could be improved for cyclists: an advance green for cyclists at the intersection; A two-stage light for car drivers turning right to become aware of pedestrian and cyclists crossing into the intersection; a prohibition of cars turning right onto Logan from Lakeshore. There are probably more, better solutions; the current design is insufficient.

Anonymous said...

We could ban cars from turning across a bike lane or path, but that's impossible at every intersection.
Making the cyclist and path more visible or forcing the driver to do an action that makes him more aware would make sense. I know this is cold comfort to the victim but this is still one of the safest sections in Toronto to ride.

Anonymous said...

Or you could put a huge ass speedbump right at the turn so they can't take it at speed.

This weekend I followed at least three cars who right hooked without signalling or even touching the brakes. Luckily I have good spider sense.