Cyclists stage mass die-in outside Toronto City Hall
The conversation about bike safety in Toronto has hit a fever pitch this week amidst a rash of cyclist and pedestrian deaths on city streets.
Two cyclists were killed on Tuesday alone after being struck by vehicles in separate incidents across town, prompting experts and terrified citizens alike to demand immediate action from City Hall
Former City of Toronto Chief Planner Jennifer Keesmaat even went so far as to call for a state of emergency.
News that 93 people had been killed by cars in the two years preceding Wednesday, which was the second anniversary of Mayor John Tory's fatality-eliminating Vision Zero plan announcement, only intensified the debate.
Many responding to the news online have commented that things seem worse than ever this year, thanks to construction, an increasing population, and a general air of frustration among drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.
"Don't know what it is, but ever since it got warmer this year seems to be really bad on the roads," commented Aaron Rochard on an article talking about the problem earlier this week.
"Drivers doing crazy things, cyclists and pedestrians ignoring signs and lights and just general disregard for other people while commuting," he continued.
"Last week I almost got hit by a car coming up on the curb at full speed at Richmond and Spadina. Then today a guy slowly crossed King against the light and gave the streetcar driver who honked at him the finger."
For years, I have loved cycling in Toronto. From April to late October, it has been my main mode of transport. I haven't been on my beloved bike once this year. It's just too dangerous and @JohnTory and @TorontoPolice are sitting it out.— Deborah Reid (@dreid63) June 13, 2018
These problems are far from new, but with more attention than ever being paid to the astonishing number of pedestrian and cyclist deaths in Toronto, the monthly "die-in" protest at City Hall this week feels particularly poignant.
Dozens of cyclists were seen outside City Hall on Friday morning, lying motionless beside their bikes in Nathan Phillips Square.
"Please join us Friday morning at 8:30am at Nathan Phillips Square and show solidarity with fellow cyclists demanding an end to road fatalities of vulnerable road users in Toronto," reads a description for the event on Facebook.
"Together, we'll lie down with our bicycles in silent protest."
That's exactly what they did, though if anyone from City Hall was paying attention remains to be seen.
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