Thursday, September 03, 2009

On Bicyclists in Toronto

This week, one day, as I was crossing the street, my eyes glanced towards a cyclist who seemed to be veering down the wrong way on a one-way street. Only too late, I realized he was trying to beat the streetcar that was veering down its lane.


Of course it was totally the cyclist's fault. Not only was he going the wrong way, he ran the light and crossed the streetcar when he should have stopped and yielded. And now, he lay motionless on the street.

The streetcar stopped, everyone exited. Other streetcars on that line were now useless. The passengers would have to walk to the next line. The ambulance was there within 5 minutes, and traffic was stopped for sometime. All because one cyclist decided he, and his time, was above the law.

I later read on the news that the man succumbed to his injuries. I felt sad for him. A needless life wasted.

Driving downtown in Toronto has recently become very risky due to cyclists. At times, it feels like Beijing, with the amount of bikes on the road. It would be great if they kept to the side of the road or in the bike lanes. However, they never follow stop signs, traffic laws and ride haphazardly in rush hour traffic. Toronto has 3 near deadly collisions between a bike and a car everyday.

In my opinion they should register cyclists on the road, and force them to pass a basic knowledge test. Drivers are always taught to check their blind spot for cyclists when making a turn. Too bad the cyclists are too busy trying to outrun them instead. In a collision between a three ton vehicle and one person on two wheels, there can only be one winner.

And sadly, one loser.


TahaManiac said...

cycling in downtown is a nightmare, esp. during rush hour. u ride on the sidewalk...u oughtta watch out for the pedestrians. u ride in the road, u watch out for the parked and moving cars...cycling in downtown isn't easy as it seems, and it seems more like going through a maze

'liya said...

So you actually saw all this happen?!

There's so many cyclists on my way to work I hate it, it's frustrating to have to change lanes to avoid hitting them since my big car can't fit on the same lane as them. I don't understand why they can't bicycle on the sidewalk, nobody walks outside in Mississauga during the morning and the sidewalks are empty!

Anonymous said...

That cyclists should "pass a basic knowledge test", I can't agree more.I was a victim on more than one occasion!
They'll come upon you unexpectedly from behind and act like they own the path! And the worse cases I've seen are those of elderly cyclists!
What about a ban on the elderly cycling by having an upper age limit as well? :)

mezba said...

TahaManiac: unfortunately riding on the sidewalk is illegal in Toronto. Doesn't mean we won't do it when biking in Scarborough! there's no bike lanes and the drivers do push you off the road.

Downtown though it's a different story. There's bike lanes and all sort of help to cyclists, and THEY abuse the law.

'liya: Yes, I saw the whole thing happen in front of my eyes. Wasn't a pleasant memory, let me tell you! I don't know if they can cycle on the sidewalk in 'sauga, in Toronto it's illegal.

Lat: I agree - once cyclists are using the road and using bike as a means of transportation, they should do the basic G1 test.