Terrifying video of taxi near-miss highlights dangerous reality for Toronto cyclists
Just getting from point to point on a bicycle can be a frustrating and at times harrowing experience in Toronto, and even with plenty of infrastructure at their disposal, cyclists are far too often made to feel like they're risking their lives in this city.
In another troubling example of reckless driving in Toronto caught on video, a cyclist was lucky to ride away unharmed and a taxi driver ended up with a suspension from work after an incident downtown on Tuesday.
Cyclist Carl Heindl, who recorded the incident, tells blogTO that he commutes daily on his bike and drives for a living, but he is concerned about a lack of traffic enforcement that he feels are cementing bad driving habits in the city.
Video evidence: Beck cab #750, nearly ends me running red light, turns into incorrect lane, proceeds to run another red. I see this type of thing everyday in the city with what looks like zero enforcement. https://t.co/L1BQH1pGDk@BeckTaxi @TPSOperations @TorontoPolice @blogTO— Carl W. Heindl (@mutemute) May 11, 2022
Heindl says that "It used to be people would at least slow down to roll through a red, which is bad enough, but take my video from yesterday — the cab driver RUSHED the red light and if I was a metre or two forward I fear I would have been hospitalized. He then turned into the wrong lane, then you can see the driver run the red light soon after at Yonge St. as well."
"With the Lake Shore bicycle path in construction ruins, and the sad attempt of an afterthought detour putting cyclists through tire-popping gravel and dangerous cement trucks on Commissioners near Cherry St., Dundas St. seems to be one of the only 'safe' east-west routes with a bike lane except for downtown. But maybe I am mistaken."
After the incident where the Beck Taxi cab narrowly missed striking his bike, Heindl says that he filed a police report and notified the cab company.
Kristine Hubbard, Operations Manager at Beck Taxi, tells blogTO that "the vehicle and driver were immediately suspended" as a result of Heindl's report, and adds that "there will definitely be an investigation and we will refer to this driver's history as well to see if there has been any previous concern or discussion regarding safe driving."
Unacceptable. This vehicle and driver have been suspended. Thank you for sharing the video and we’re so glad you weren’t injured. He’ll answer for the behaviour.— Beck Taxi (@BeckTaxi) May 11, 2022
Hubbards says that "It's absolutely unacceptable and I'm just glad no one was hurt. I'm equally glad that the video captured everything we need to move forward with appropriate action to avoid another close call."
She adds that in such instances, she encourages cyclists to register formal complaints with Municipal Licensing & Standards, the licensing body that would allow the driver to continue operating either with a cab company or independently.
Lawyer and cycling advocate Dave Shellnutt was disheartened by the contents of the video, telling blogTO it "captures the entitlement, negligent and dangerous driving we cyclists and other vulnerable road users have become accustomed to," adding that these incidents "no longer shock us. It is the norm."
So sorry to see this Carl but glad you're ok! Be sure to file a CORE report online with TPS, this driver could have seriously injured you and likely will hurt someone else in the future.— The Biking Lawyer (Dave Shellnutt) (@TheBikingLawyer) May 11, 2022
Shellnutt contends that "successive failures in enforcement, ineffective penalties, and snail's pace infrastructure changes breed a culture where the car is king and this negligence frequently occurs."
"The driver, putting his own or his passengers' self-interests above our collective safety blew a red and pedestrian walk signal at one of the busiest intersections in the country. The result could have been pedestrians and our cyclist Carl dead and/or seriously injured."
Shellnutt is demanding urgent action from the City, saying that "as people return to work and life outside the confines of their COVID-19 bubbles flourishes, horrific driving behaviour and more people out and about will result in continued widespread harm/road violence."
"We need leadership from all levels of government to create, promote and secure safe streets now."
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