Shocking video shows Toronto driver slam their car into a terrified cyclist
Cycling in Toronto is no picnic, with bikes forced to share the road with fast-moving vehicles, a problem often compounded by a lack of clearly-separated infrastructure.
These issues are apparent in a shocking clip posted to social media on Wednesday afternoon, when a Toronto woman cycling along a dedicated cycle track on Royal York Road at Judson Street in Etobicoke was struck by a seemingly oblivious driver.
Etobicoke resident Ruth Watkins was cycling northbound on Royal York, passing below an underpass carrying the rail tracks west of Mimico GO station on a stretch of bike lane marked only with white paint.
As she crossed the underpass, a silver Toyota Corolla merged into the northbound bike lane, directly into the cyclist's path. Watkins first rings her bell frantically before attempting to get the driver's attention through yelling.
After both attempts fail, the driver makes contact with Watkins' bicycle, damaging it and throwing her to the ground.
In the Twitter thread, Watkins explains that "she was trying to squeeze past the cars ahead who were waiting to turn left. She failed to look for a cyclist as she crept into my bike lane to pass the cars."
Watkins tells blogTO that despite the terrifying experience, she was unharmed in the collision, admitting that at the age of 63, she's very fortunate to have walked away without injuries,
She says that she filed a police report, largely for insurance purposes due to her damaged bike, and that the driver of the silver Toyota Corolla remained at the scene.
"She was really upset by what she had done," says Watkins, explaining that "I really believe she didn't know I was there until she heard my mirror scratching along the side of my car."
While Watkins doesn't absolve the driver of responsibility, she says that "I think that this is entirely preventable."
"What the city needs to do is if they put flexi posts, just in the underpass on that stretch," suggesting the same flexible bollards found lining cycling tracks around the city be installed in the underpass.
"If she squeezed me between her car and the pedestrian bike rail, then it would have been really bad injuries. But as it was, she knocked me off my bike, and I fell onto the sidewalk."
Personal injury lawyer and road safety advocate David Shellnutt agrees that more must be done, telling blogTO that "what we have here is a prime example of why we need more than just painted bike lanes."
"This driver crossed over a solid white line to skirt around left-turning cars. They didn't so much as glance into the path they were proceeding into. If they had, they would have seen a cyclist and avoided this collision."
Shellnutt is especially frustrated with the "terrifying frequency" at which he sees "examples of dangerous and inattentive driving by motorists like this."
"The results are often serious injury requiring years of rehab. It's high time we have bold leadership in the battle for safe streets and a cultural shift that prioritizes the safety of vulnerable road users over people in cars trying to get to Costco on time."
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