doug crosbie

People in Toronto furious and upset after truck driver who killed cyclist found not guilty

It's been nearly three years since journalist and father of two Douglas Crosbie was struck and killed by a cargo truck while riding his bike to work in Leslieville, and the driver who hit him has been found not guilty. 

Justice of the Peace Kevin Madigan acquitted William Adkins in an oral judgment on April 9, though he said he couldn't explain his decision in detail because paperwork pertaining to the case was in his office, which remains closed due to the pandemic.

Adkins was facing one count of making a turn not in safety, a non-criminal provincial offence under the Highway Traffic Act that could result in a fine of $85 (or $150 in a community safety zone), but Madigan said the evidence showed that the driver "took all reasonable measures to prevent this turn from being unsafe."

Still, the judge did acknowledge that the 32-year-old driver had made a turn that was "objectively dangerous" and that his actions had "resulted in the tragic death of this cyclist." 

Both men were travelling westbound along Dundas Street East approaching Jones Avenue on May 16, 2018 when the collision occurred. 

Adkins was driving a 2009 Hino truck owned by Foam Comfort Inc. and made a right turn onto Jones Avenue when he collided with the cyclist.

Crosbie was then taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries where he later died, leaving behind a wife and two children in their early 20s.

Just one year and three days after his death, Crosbie's wife Christine died tragically of cancer.

Following Madigan's judgment last week, many Toronto residents took to social media to express their fury about the decision and the fact that car culture continues to be so prevalent in rulings such as this one.

Safe street advocates have also spoken out against the decision, saying it sends a clear message to motorists that they will not be held accountable for their actions. 

"The only message that the public can possibly take from this is that they don't need to be careful while driving," wrote Friends and Families for Safe Streets (FFSS) on Twitter following the ruling.

"And as long as a driver claims they were being careful when they kill someone, or claim that at some point they glanced at a mirror somewhere, the system will take good care of them and make sure they face absolutely no consequences whatsoever for the senseless, bloody destruction they cause because they didn't want to make a full effort to drive safely."

Some are even calling for the laws to be changed to prevent other drivers from killing cyclists and getting away with it.

FFSS is also taking the opportunity to shed light on the importance of passing Bill 62, which would protect vulnerable road users and require drivers to attend court proceedings instead of simply sending a lawyer. 

"Driving laws were drafted to exclude consequences for careless drivers, because actual consequences might affect corporate profit of car/insurance companies.#Lobbying In no other domain of law can you violently kill someone scot-free. But if you do it with a car, it's fine.#Bill62," wrote FFSS.

"Yet another horrific example of how perverse our #CarCulture justice system can be when careless drivers kill innocent loved ones. It's horrible, it's inhuman, it's inhumane, and it MUST be fixed. Everyone deserves better than this. We could fix this, if we wanted to.#Bill62."

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