cyclist struck toronto

Toronto cyclist struck after elderly truck driver plows through a protected bike lane

Toronto cyclists have to contend with plenty of danger sharing roads with motorists, but even dedicated cycling infrastructure can come with risks, as one cyclist learned on the Bayview Avenue bike path this week.

The Toronto Cycling Instagram account posted that on Thursday that "a cyclist was hit by a truck just 100m away from myself on the Bayview bike path; yes, literally inside the closed bike path!"

"The driver, an old individual from out of town, seemed to have lost navigation and ended in the bike path. The cyclist collided with the driver-side mirror and crashed. 911 was called and an ambulance arrived at the scene. A police dispatcher also arrived later and documented the incident. He charged the driver for entering the bike lane."

Toronto Police have confirmed to blogTO that "according to the report filed by the investigating officer, the driver was in fact charged," but were unable to provide specifics of the charges.

While the Bayview bike path has physical separation features, such as flexible bollards and concrete curbs, many cyclists have been pushing for greater protections and clearer demarcation for cycling-specific infrastructure.

Personal injury lawyer and cycling safety advocate David Shellnutt tells blogTO that "this incident speaks to the glaring need for robust segregated infrastructure as well as raises questions around licensing and ongoing testing for drivers of a certain age."

"Our understanding is that this happens frequently on Bayview, motorists in bike lanes. What is being done to address inadequacies in the cycling infrastructure here? Who else needs to be hit?"

"During a week where so much attention has been paid to cyclists in a park, this incident is striking not in its uniqueness but because it is emblematic of the negligence we cyclists experience on our streets daily."

Shellnutt is thankful that the victim was not seriously injured, but stresses that such incidents are "emblematic of a trend in dangerous driving cyclists are all too familiar with. It's time for our elected officials to support and implement robust road safety plans that promote safe spaces for cycling and laws that penalize and deter dangerous motorist behaviour."

"We are thankful that the fellow cyclist attended to our fallen community member. Through collective action and thoughtful individual acts, we will achieve the safe streets we are after."

Though not everyone seems to agree that the fault here is entirely on the driver, as one commenter on Instagram suggests, "this is a prime example of poor signage and wayfinding. The truck obviously mistakenly moved into the bike lane because he didn't know where the driving lane was."

One could argue that bright yellow bollards and raised concrete curbs should serve as enough of a deterrent against motorists straying into bike paths, but apparently, some drivers need much more obvious cues.

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