The Toronto Police are reporting (PDF) that a cyclist was hit and injured last night while riding on Coxwell Ave., north of Gerrard St.
On Thursday, May 7, 2009, at 11:07 p.m., police responded to a call for a personal injury collision on Coxwell Avenue, north of Casci Avenue.
It is reported that:
- a 19−year−old man was riding his bicycle north on Coxwell Avenue, in the right lane,
- a Safari van was travelling north on Coxwell Avenue, in the left lane,
- the cyclist turned left into the path of the van and was hit.
The cyclist was taken to hospital with life−threatening injuries.
The cyclist was not wearing a helmet but was wearing headphones, which may have limited
his ability to sense his surroundings.
Although the cyclist is at the age where helmets are not mandatory for cycling, the use of one
has been shown to reduce head injuries when worn properly.
The story has been picked up by a few media outlets today too:
- Toronto Star - Cyclist in east-end crash was listening to iPod
- National Post - East-end cyclist hit by van was wearing headphones, police say
- CTV - Van strikes cyclist on Coxwell Avenue
- 680 News - City cyclist hit by moving van
- CP24 - Cyclist in serious condition after being struck by van
- Toronto Sun - Injured cyclist not wearing helmet: Cops
- Metro - Headphones may have had role in bike crash: police
The Toronto Star reports that, "His chest was crushed and he suffered a closed-head injury to his brain. He was taken to St. Michael's Hospital in life-threatening condition, but he is now expected to survive."
A couple of issues with this case are coming up now. First of all, the media are jumping all over the fact that the cyclist may have been wearing an iPod when he was hit. This may have been a contributing factor to the collision if he did not hear the van before turning in front of it without looking. A poster on the ARC mailing list pointed out, "I would like to know if the fracken driver of the van was listening to his stereo?"
Also, the police report states, "Although the cyclist is at the age where helmets are not mandatory for cycling, the use of one has been shown to reduce head injuries when worn properly." To be fair, the helmet won't prevent a CRUSHING CHEST INJURY, nor will it prevent someone from trying to turn left across the path of a van, or a van running down a cyclist from behind. The police clearly do no understand what cycling safety is actually about.
The cops are still looking for witnesses to get all the details of this collision pieced together. I don't want to judge anyone here, but there are a few things that should be mentioned:
- It's probably not a good idea to be listening to music when you're riding your bike. Use all of your senses and stay alert.
- Always check for traffic when you change lanes, no matter if you're a cyclist or motorist. As cyclists, we have alot more to lose if we screw up. As motorists, you have the responsibility of piloting a large, heavy, potentially deadly machine.
- To the media: Don't be so quick to blame the cyclist for every collision. The police are still investigating, and there's a possibility that the cyclist was making a legal left turn when the inattentive motorist hit him from behind.
No matter what the result of the investigation is, I hope the cyclist returns to full health quickly. Let's all be careful out there.