cyclist killed toronto

Toronto's cycling community shaken by first fatality of 2021

Toronto's cycling community is calling for improved safety measures following the tragic death of an 18-year-old Wednesday evening.

The 50-year-old driver of a cement truck travelling northbound on Avenue Road north of Bloor Street West struck the cyclist in the curb lane around 6:30 p.m. last night. The cyclist succumbed to his injuries at the scene.

This marks just the first cyclist fatality of 2021 in Toronto, the last time being when 23-year-old Alex Amaro was killed while riding her bike on Dufferin Street.

The year 2021 has seen roads become demonstrably safer for cyclists through the continuation of the ActiveTO program's temporary restrictions on vehicle traffic and the separation of road and bike traffic.

Even with these improvements, the latest fatality is a stark reminder of the 28 major injuries and four cycling fatalities recorded in 2020.

Toronto cyclists want more planning and action from the City, including calls to accelerate the ActiveTO program and make its upgrades permanent.

Their voices are being heard by Ward 11 University—Rosedale Councillor Mike Layton, who tweeted support to give cycling infrastructure the same priority level as roads and highways.

Some in the community aren't satisfied with this response, directing the blame towards the management of construction in the area and the city not heeding locals'’ warnings.

Construction at the intersection has been forcing drivers into the cycling track, raising concerns in recent weeks. Wednesday's tragedy was foreshadowed in a tweet from two days before the collision warning of dangerous conditions at the intersection.

The phrasing of some news headlines covering the event is also garnering a response from the community. Some are unhappy about wording that shifts responsibility away from the truck's driver.

Another safety measure, the city's Vision Zero Road Safety program, is the subject of continued criticism over a lack of apparent progress in making streets safer for cyclists and pedestrians.

Though the program aims to make streets safer for all, the Vision Zero webpage seems to put the responsibility for safety squarely on the shoulders of pedestrians and cyclists rather than motorists.

The page offers downloadable safety guides for pedestrians, school children, cyclists, senior citizens, but a guide for drivers is conspicuously absent.

Lead photo by

Michael Monastyrskyj

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