Cyclist's leg severed by cab driver

In a hit and run overnight, a cyclist came close to death after having his leg severed.

There are stories here:
City News
680 News
The Star
The Star (Updated story)

From the City News story:

Officers picked the taxi driver up and brought him into a station for questioning, as the cab, with a sizeable dent in the back end, sat in the man's driveway. It's being said the cabbie had wounds consistent with a beating but cops aren't completely convinced those injuries were the result of an attempted robbery. Among their questions, why it took three hours from the time of the incident to the time the driver called them.

Investigators are still deciding whether to lay charges.

The police have not yet laid charges, as they continue their investigation. A cab driver has contacted the police claiming to have been robbed at about the same time and same place. Witnesses say there was a heated argument before the crash.


This is crazy, can a cyclist really steal money from a cab? I have been fighting to share the road with taxi cabs in my area ever since i moved in three years ago.

They brake every law to make a buck, they speed down Shaw, they drive recklessly down Queen. The move with lightning speed to gert from one club district (Colledge) to another (Queen and Gladstone) using the smal cyclists friendly street called Argyle. This terrible event needs to take aim at a bigger tension growing betweem Taxis and cyclists.

Anyone that says they have never had a problem sharing the road with a cab should ride in my hood of Queen W. I have had to many close calls to count.

The cab driver is likely to face a fail to ramain charge. What other charges may be laid, if any, are still being investigated.

The 36 year old cyclist lost his leg after a failed attempt at St. Mikes Hostipal to reattach it. He's currently fighting for his life.

Police are appealling for witnesses: Anyone who saw a Beck Taxi or car "anywhere in the Greater Toronto Area with damage to the rear end" between 2:30 and 5:30 a.m. to call police at 416-808-1900 or 416-222-TIPS (8477).

The chances of a cyclist or pedestrian trying to rob him are slim to none, but it is plausible. We should wait for the facts to come out though. Regardless, the drive WILL be charged with Failure to Remain as its virtually undeniable; he left the scene of an accident. Period. He most likely will be charged with Care and Control, or a similar charge. He could and should be charged also with Vehicular Assault or Assault with a Deadly Weapon regardless of the defence. For those charges cause is not really taken into account any more than the action itself.

The positionning of the vehicle in relation to where the pole is would indicate that the cabbie did reverse at a rate of speed against traffic and in an illegal manner, but with questionnable intent to cause harm. Intent will be the primary focus of the investigation.

My prediction. Cabbie cut off cyclist. Cyclist approached driver widnow from the front left of vehicle on bike (front of bike aimed at rear left of car). Cyclist yelled back or struck cab and the screaming match ensued. Cyclist took off around back left bumper of car. Cabbie 'felt threatened' or pissed and threw cab in reverse where Cyclist happened to be at that moment. Cabbie hit cyclist too hard, freaked and left, going home to call family and a lawyer. Robbery story was concocted hedging bets that no witnesses could back-up cyclist's story.

Of course, I'll wait to see what happened and hope for charges to be laid.

Best wishes to the cyclist and his family for a speedy recovery and justice.

I live just south of the there, its a shocking story. It s lamentable that a humanbeing can lose his leg in such an argument/dispute.

The fact that the cabbie reversed rapidly tells me that this cannot be self defence but an intent to hurt the cyclist. The cabbie has the option to flee forward with no chance of the cyclist catching him instead he used his extra horsepower to injure and hurt the cyclist. I'm sure once the cyclist gets out of hospital he will give us his version of the incident.

I wish the cyclist a rapid recovery and hope when the facts come out justice is served.

I too have retaliated before on cabbies with no further incident I now will think twice.

This just goes to what I've been saying to friends about making cycling safer in the city. All we need is the cops to enforce some laws other than just poaching on speeding: do your effing job! Fifteen years ago people drove with a bit of class. I come back ten years ago and everyone in a car is a tool. How does that happen? Easy, they know there's no consequences. Change that.

The updated story on the Star website says that the police suspect this was a "simple case of road rage". And the driver has changed his story three times - first he was complaining about an agressive cyclist, then says he was assaulted, then says he was robbed. Obviously he's lying.

This is really bad. I don't know the cyclist, but if this is not severely punished then it's basically a go-ahead from the police to hit-and-run any cyclist who pisses a driver off. This is a serious safety matter for us out there. Are there any suggestions for how we can help this cyclist get justice in this case...? And, in the process, make ourselves safer out there...? This story scares me...

There is no way that this is an accident. Why?

A. Car bumpers are designed to impact up to at least 5 mphs (as far as I know) without showing damage. Look at the dent in that bumper! The only time I've seen that much damage to a bumper involving a bicycle was when I was hit by a taxi...I was going at 25 km/hr+ and he was going much faster and trying to stop.
B. You'd have to really be pushing that cyclist's leg against the pole to severe it. Geeze, the leg bone is one of the toughest bones in the body.
C. I also saw the segment on CBC, that driver went up OVER the sidewalk curb to mash the cyclist. You'd have to be really going after someone to mount the curb and still have enough force to severe that person's leg.

As far as I'm concerned, that taxi driver was out to maim if not kill.


Broadcast time: 15:15
Friday, November 14, 2008

Traffic Services

On Friday, November 14, 2008, at 2:27 a.m., police responded to a call for a fail−to−remain collision in the Dovercourt Road/Argyle Street area.

It is reported that:

  • a collision occurred involving a cyclist and a taxi cab,
  • a taxi cab was seen leaving the scene, southbound on Dovercourt Road.

The cyclist was taken to hospital with life−threatening injuries.

Police are requesting the public’s assistance locating a Beck Taxi that was involved in the collision on Friday, November 14, 2008. The taxi had damage to its rear trunk, bumper and tail light.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416−808−1900, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416−222−TIPS (8477), online at, or text TOR and your message to CRIMES (274637)

I agree with much that has been said above. Just this morning a cab driver was threatening me as I was moving into a left turn lane on Bathurst to Adelaide. Another cab driver did the same to another cyclist friend, this morning as well, threatening to kill him for stopping - Center lane, to turn left off Queen.

The fact that the cab driver called in three hours after his hit and run, reeks of an act of retaliation. If he was being robbed, he hits the gas, gets out of there, calls 911 right away - not after he's come up with a story to cover up his crime.

If this cab driver does NOT get severely punished for retaliating with a vehicle, with clear intent to injure (or kill) a cyclist, it will be a scary day for many cyclists and pedestrians. He must be made an example of and the media must use this terrible event as a platform to educate drivers on the laws of the roads, cyclists rights and both of our road responsibilities!

Breakfast TV, City News... whatever.. Do a weekly story (PLEASE) on the actual rights AND reasons cyclists MUST do what we do while on the road. Even while riding responsibly, we still have our lives endangered by the rampant ignorance of motorists out there.

Already many motorists are consciously using their vehicles as assault weapons, threatening non-motorists by coming to close, side-swiping, speeding up, cutting off, pushing in... (That's not including the 'mistakes' and 'accidents'.. Talking on cell phones, getting food from the back seat, not looking the right way while turning, running a red light.. all acts of stupidity that have often fatal results for cyclists and pedestrians.)

I don't know what happened just down my street this morning, it sounds all too familiar though. I hope the cyclist will survive and the driver be brought to justice. I hope this is a wake up call to the city that we need bike lanes with meridians, that we need to uphold the legal rights of non-motorists and that drivers can't get away with attempted murder in this city.

He should still be charged with attempted murder, and the Crown should be unwilling to bargain it down to anything less than aggrevated assault. Even if being robbed/threatened/attacked, the cabbie had a duty to retreat if he could do so safely. Given that he had to back the car up and that there are no reports of weapons found at the scene or on the cyclist very strongly suggest that he did not fulfill this duty, and cannot claim self-defence.

I'm really hoping that the only reason charges other than failure to remain haven't yet been laid is that the police/crown are waiting to see if the cyclist dies of his injuries (what with the reports still listing his condition as critical) so they know whether they have a murder or manslaughter charge to file.

Good luck to the victim on a speedy recovery, and even more luck (since it's sorely needed) on getting anything approaching adequate compensation from the cabbie's insurance company.

"This speaks to how badly cyclists get treated," said John Rodgers, a 24-year-old University of Toronto student who came to the Luna Cafe yesterday, and was stunned to hear what had taken place just hours before. "It's an extreme case, but it shows you the tensions."

The bloody incident left local residents traumatized. A woman named Tanya, who asked that her last name not be used, said her sleep was shattered by a loud argument on the street outside. By the time she was fully awake, the arguing had stopped, replaced by the sound of the cyclist yelling expletives at the cab driver. Then she heard an impact, followed by a distinct crunch.

The woman ran to her bedroom window and looked down to see a cab parked on the wrong side of the street in front of her home, facing south. Seconds later, the cab accelerated away to the south, toward Queen Street. When she arrived on the street, the woman found the victim sitting on the pavement in a pool of blood, his leg almost severed and screaming for help and yelling "stop."

In my opinion, cyclists are facing and uphill battle for safety on the roadways. Although pedestrian injury and deaths in the GTA due to collisions with motor vehicles are numerically higher than among cyclists, I feel that pedestrians enjoy a greater measure of safety due to societal expectations of respect (on the part of drivers) for their safety than that for cyclists. There are after all, many more pedestrians in the GTA than there are cyclists (particularly on an annual basis). More pedestrians mean more auto-pedestrain collisions.

There appear to be more cyclists sharing roadways in the GTA though on an annual basis and this trend (if it does in fact exist) is likely to continue.

If this turns out to be what it may have been (road rage rather than self-defence) cyclists must make it clear to politicians & law enforcement that:
- we are tax payers with pockets deep enough to count
- we will not tolerate ANY compromise on cyclist safety
- cycylists must be afforded the same measure of care (on the part of drivers & law enforcement) that pedestrians are.
- we will insist that drivers who endanger cyclists be dealt with as dangerous to society

We need to organize and be persistant. Support has to come from Ottawa on down and we don't have a large constituancy outside of the urban centres. A cyclists trust to fund litigation seems a good idea.

Pedal clips and cycling shoes don't strike me as gear common to a theif. That guy lost his leg and may lose his life. This incident may be outrageous on the scale of some of the shootings we have seen in the city. The 'broken window theory' calls for not swift, but thorough justice.

The Globe story makes for grisly reading. I hope the victim pulls through.

The "simple" road rage scenario seems most plausible. Really what are the chances the cabbie accidentally backed up over the curb (CityTV story) and onto the sidewalk just as -- surprise! -- his antagonist, the cyclist, happened to be there? And then accidentally drove away as the victim lay bleeding to death?

If assistance didn't arrive in short order that would have been a corpse lying on the sidewalk. I hate the euphemism 'road rage'; it obscures the fact that the incident is basically a case of assault or attempted murder with a weapon (in this case, a car).

The investigating officer claimed I did this falling off my bicycle? It takes REAL talent to fall off your bike onto your back and break a clavicle, 2 ribs, perforate and collapse a lung etc, no?
While I was on a gurney in the emergency ward he argued with me about my occupation. Six time he asked me what I did for a living and each time I told him he expressed doubt. I finally blacked out. Trying to talk on one lung has that affect.
He ended up interviewing me right after I'd regained consciousness after being given a general anesthetic to have my collapsed lung reinflated. No kidding I didn't know whether I was coming or going at first. Anesthetic has that affect. But as I came around and as things came back he used my initial disorientation to justify taking rather great liberties with what he recorded. He actually cut me off while I was describing being hit to inform me he didn't find me credible.

I REALLY hope this cyclist isn't put through similar antagonistic questioning while he is traumatised and disoriented. Unfortunately police sympathies suggest otherwise.

There are definitely some officers who are more human than others, and some who are more humane.
Many of the officers and city staff are "carist" just like many citizens. At least with this latest carime they're being far more considerate of the cyclist, though merely cautioning the cabbie to stick around doesn't seem quite appropriate given the still-murky situation, and the cab's direct reversal, though the shytstem also doesn't value cabbies lives and well-being very highly.
Trying to rectify a wrong is uphill and costly, and it's more daunting with injuries, with compounding challenges of access to income etc. is the local taxi "news" outlet; on the current issue is something about them having real difficulty in finding more than one insurance company, that one being Lombard as memory serves. Maybe we should think of filing cab complaints with them rather than the police or the Licensing Commission as the police have hung up on me after I called in about one cabbie nearly dooring me as he went for a coffee on Bloor.
One can be doing nearly all the right things....
safe journies


Cyclist who lost leg expected to survive

A cyclist whose leg was severed after an apparent altercation with a cab driver is expected to survive, police said Saturday.

The 35-year-old Toronto man was pinned against a pole after the cab driver allegedly backed into him early Friday morning. The victim's condition has been upgraded to serious. He had surgery yesterday and police say he will undergo more operations this weekend.

"It's gone. His right leg is gone," said Staff Sgt. Keith Haines of Traffic Services.

Police were called to Dovercourt Rd., near Queen St. W. and Ossington Ave., around 2:30 a.m. for a report of a hit-and-run incident. They found the cyclist bleeding heavily from his right leg.

The cyclist was taken to St. Michael's Hospital, where doctors made an unsuccessful attempt to reattach his leg.

Police are waiting to speak to the victim, who isn't coherent. "Once the hospital says he's capable, we'll be getting his side of the story," Haines said.

Maybe a little OT but this is something I've been living with:

It seems crazy but I get stuck in this loop where I'm looking for the one who hit me and can all but see them. It's especially aggravating as they probably got a good look at me even after as I was laying on the pavement so would recognise me. But I have nothing to identify them. When someone says something inferring this was somehow my fault my immediate reaction is they were the one who hit me and are still trying to cover their tracks. For some reason Diane's comment <a href="">here</a> triggers just that response. Rationally I know her response is innocent and naive but her inference appears that the victim is to blame and that is enough to trigger a rage I fear to voice.

A cop told me to drop it and forget about it. My brain won't let me. I'll be working away and then get lost in the experience again and again, reliving the crash, looking for the one who hit me. I'll be happily riding across the Queensway on that beautiful July day. I pass Colborne Lodge. There is a truck with a box on the back in front of me. We approach Ellis and I feel the push from behind. I know what it is right away. It will stop, then start again. I look down and see I'm instinctively counter steering trying to keep the bike going straight. I realise my rear end has come too far to my right and is about to hit the point where it cannot transfer the energy applied by the push to rotation and I'm about to get tossed.

Then nothing.

I'm on the ambulance gurney. The sun is bright in my eyes. My right shoulder feels a mess. It hurts to breath and the breaths are shallow. There is sharp pain where a cervical collar touches my collar bone. My brain tells me to lay tight and everything will be alright. My new helmet is gone. My new glasses are gone. I see the cop.
"Your helmet is garbage". Then something about "free replacement". I know different. Giro does not have crash replacement. I bought the Giro for fit and by the feel of my head it did its job. My head felt fine. The feeling in my chest and lack of breath convinces me I don't want to debate this point at this time.
I pulled the cervical collar off as soon as they closed the ambulance doors. The attendant chastised me when I handed it to him when they pulled me out at St Josephs all of 2 blocks away. It fucking hurt and was a great relief to have off.

Critical Mass every Friday!

Critical Mass everyday!

We demand a whole street just for bicycles! we'll take queen, dundas, or college

Down with Miller! Down with Giambrone! Blood is on their hands!

This is outrageous!

Unless the city is willing to put in dedicated bike lanes with concrete dividers between the car and bike lanes (as they do in civilized places like Amsterdam), I agree that it is time to agitate for bike only streets. Highways are car only, why can't we have bike only urban thoroughfares?

Painted bike lanes are useless; I have never had a day go by when I am cycling in Toronto and I do not see a car illegally stopped/parked in a "dedicated" bike lane.

...find a lawyer...preferably a good one...who would be willing to sue the city for each and every serious collision that has occured since 2003, particularly on routes where we want bike lanes, like Bloor and Danforth? It could be shown that the city has been adequately aware of the dangers of motor traffic to cyclists, large quantities of cyclists, little, if any, enforcement of HTA rules regarding motorists remaining behind cyclists until it is safe to pass with a 3 foot margin etc. Could negligence not be proven? I submit that it can. If the city and the province are both to blame, sue them both.

thank you for your support
we are just trying to put put the pieces together so we can be at peice and let justice take it's coarse we need all the support we can get your story is just so dead on to the truth please help we need it.... thanks

thank you for your support
we are just trying to put put the pieces together so we can be at peice and let justice take it's coarse we need all the support we can get your story is just so dead on to the truth please help we need it.... thanks

yeah i cant believe u naailed it that close 2 what actually happened... were u there?? please contact me if u were ...that was my brother ...he not only lost his leg hes having surgery on his hip today ...please if u know anything about that night can u contact me i would really appreciate it

yeah i cant believe u naailed it that close 2 what actually happened... were u there?? please contact me if u were ...that was my brother ...he not only lost his leg hes having surgery on his hip today ...please if u know anything about that night can u contact me i would really appreciate it

anyone who witnessed or call 911 for this incident please contact us we need help a.s.a.p
thank you everyone
for all your support, and please continue..... with all our hearts.....
we need all the support we can get

Lawsuits are the only thing going to make our riding safer. We should all stop pissing around on sites like this, and the tepid 'Cyclists' Union' and start a real cyclists' union that realizes that you have to sue. We ride in an antagonistic society, so why the hell are we playing nice: advocating for road space, scraps of paint, etc. Makes me wish I went to law school instead of teacher's college!

Suing the city, the province, etc are collectively known as "Strategic lawsuits" and they are just one of the tools we have as advocates. Legal action is expensive; you need a large war chest to be able to pull even one of these off. Lawyers can only afford to do Pro Bono work in dribs and drabs, just dispersements can quickly add up.

The other key piece as that lawsuits are a "Strategic" move. Using it as a tactic is not what it's meant for.

I'd like to sit down with a few lawyer friends and speak to them about the use of law as part our toolkit, including strategic lawsuits, and post about it here. We'll likely find that we have a few more tools available to us that we realized, but we'll have to find out about them first.

I'm off to post a bit of news about some good developments, but I will come back to this topic.

I am always seeing cars and delivery trucks illegally parked in bike lanes. Each and every time I pull out my cell telephone and call Parking Enforcement at: (416) 808-6600. Each and every time an enforcement officer is dispached.

It also goes into the official statistics, so that at the end of the year, it is impossible to say that "there is no problem with parking in the bike lanes." Instead, the City will be saying "we received XXXX complaints about parking in the bike lanes, so it is a serious problem."

Perhaps suing in a general, sweeping way would be strategic, but I suggest we examine a serious case, perhaps a fatality, and demonstrate that the city has been criminally negligent in providing necessary safety protocols, pandering, instead, to shop-owners, lazy locals and over-weight politicians who see dollar signs before vital signs (oooh, I like that). It could be argued that the city willfully put cyclists at risk when it knew or ought to have known that a serious injury and/or death would be imminent.

It doesn't have to be pro-bono. If the city is liable for a) ignoring X number of cyclists per hour on the route proved there was and is substantial cycling traffic, b) the cyclists were and are at risk from parked/parking motorists as well as moving traffic c) failed to act on recommendations for the removal of motor vehicle parking and the installing of bike lanes d) failed to make any effort to discourage car use on the route in question, and e) that their failure to act directly led to the serious injury or death of a cyclist, the lawyer would be paid, the family would be compensated and the city would be court-ordered to replace parking with bike lanes. Heck, we could even ask that the bike lane be named after the victim.

All we need is a good lawyer willing to take up the cause.

...I actually, wait for it, sit down if you must...a Fed Ex truck stopped on College in the right lane, but NOT IN THE BIKE LANE. That's right, he clearly and purposefully stopped his truck so that it was blocking only the right motor-traffic lane (if you want to call it that). I was astounded. Up ahead of the truck, of course, was a Purolater and Canada Post truck stopped against the curb, effectively blocking BOTH the bike lane and the right lane.

Cyclist who lost his leg unable to aid police
Man remains 'in extremely rough condition,' police say, as they try to piece together what led to violent argument with cabbie

The past five days have passed in a blur of surgery and anesthesia for a cyclist who lost his leg in a bizarre road-rage incident that is expected to result in criminal charges against a cab driver.

The cyclist, who has not been named, has undergone multiple operations since last Friday morning, when he was seemingly rammed by a taxi after a roadside confrontation on a southwest Toronto street. His inability to provide a comprehensive account of the violent incident has, at least so far, been a stumbling block for investigators.

"He is in extremely rough condition," said Detective Celeste Butt of Toronto Police Traffic Services.

Police sources say investigators have visited the cyclist several times at St. Michael's Hospital, and are waiting for his condition to improve before moving ahead with the case. Although Det. Butt would release few details, it appears that the cyclist and the driver may be the only two who can provide first-hand accounts of the violent encounter, which took place shortly after 2 a.m. at the corner of Dovercourt Road and Argyle Street, just north of Queen Street West.


The incident has sparked intense discussion in the Toronto cycling community, which has documented countless encounters between car drivers and cyclists.

"This is an unbelievable case," said Joe Dias, a former courier who now works in the TV and film industry. "Everyone's talking about it. It's incredible."

The scene of the incident has provided a focal point for cyclists' fears, as well as their simmering resentment of drivers who threaten their safety. Yesterday, a white ribbon painted with the image of a bicycle in a pool of blood fluttered from the bent post outside the Luna Cafe.

"This just reminds you of what can happen," one cyclist said as he locked his bike nearby. "You're on a bike, they're in a steel box."

It sure has...

i can see everyone is hot after the cab driver.......but does anyone really know this person.this is the kind of person who would provoke anyone into a fight.i believe this biker chris did try to rob this cab driver and probably did threaten his life in this argument.....i believe they fought and cab driver got free ran to his car and backed up trying to save his life.....not trying to kill or severe his leg but trying to save his life from this maniac beating him up.the cab driver had no idea the pole was there or what the results of the accident would be.......the cab driver was scared for his life...chris is a very violent and aggressive person he rides his bike like a maniac screaming at drivers all the time......did anyone check his alchol level...i bet he was also drunk at the time and that is how he fell off his bike the first time.......i feel very bad for this cab driver and his family i hope all his charges are dropped and chris is charged with attemped robbery.....
i am not a friend of the cab driver or a cab driver myself.......however i have seen this chris in action before threating people and asking them into a fight.....he is a bad apple.....

pennyfarthing ok frye