road rage cyclist

Angry Toronto driver accused of hurling shocking homophobic slur at cyclist

A Toronto cyclist alleges that a driver nearly struck him, intentionally swerved into him, and hurled hateful homophobic remarks in another incident highlighting the growing divide between motorists and cyclists in the city.

Cyclist Alex Mather claims that the driver of a dark blue Hyundai sedan ran a stop sign on Wednesday at the intersection of Bellevue and Oxford near Kensington Market, nearly striking the cyclist and leading to a heated exchange.

"I was proceeding through having stopped at the stop sign, only to have him blow through the stop sign while turning right, nearly hitting me," he told blogTO.

After exchanging some words, Mather alleges that the driver attempted to run him off the road and hurled a homophobic slur.

"When I yelled at him as he swerved towards me, I threw up the 'what the hell?!' hands, which prompted him to tell me to f*ck off."

"I then continued southbound while he drove alongside me and began to deliberately swerve in and out towards me, revving his engine, and flipping me the bird over and over again, before speeding down the road as fast as he could."

Mather says that typical downtown Toronto traffic thwarted the man's getaway, "which meant I pulled up behind him not long after he'd sped down the block. He then raced around the corner, tires again screeching, and pulled into what appeared to be his driveway."

After catching up with the driver, Mather snapped a photo of the man giving the one-finger salute, which was allegedly accompanied by some disgusting words.

"I stopped my bike out front to take a picture of his licence plate so that I could report him to the police, where he again flipped me the bird and yelled at me, 'You f*ggot f*ck cyclists, you think you own the roads,' a slur that is apparently a somewhat common refrain hurled by people driving cars at people on bikes."

The incident was reported to police, but Mather isn't holding his breath that anything will come of it.

Toronto Police confirmed to blogTO that a report was filed, stating that "It is still being investigated. There are no updates at this time."

Though he had never previously encountered the man pictured, Mather explains that this is far from the first incident he's witnessed "where drivers are clearly deliberately trying to harm people riding bikes."

Checking his privilege at the door, Mather says that he's "cognizant of the fact that, as a young(ish), fit(ish), white, able-bodied male, I've likely been on the receiving end of fewer of these sorts of abuses than many others have, which really puts into perspective what a lot of folks in this city are confronted with on a too-regular basis."

The hateful encounter comes amid exceptionally high tension between the cycling and driving communities, currently at odds over a high-profile police ticketing blitz targeting cyclists speeding in High Park.

Mather says that "the timing of this incident particularly struck a chord for me," adding that "the High Park example strikes me as a particularly egregious and insensitive display of poor judgment on the part of the police" and "emblematic of an attitude of complacency towards people driving dangerously."

Lead photo by

Alex Mather

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