Toronto, the city of "Bike Rage"

I find it rather interesting that after a summer of fuel provided by our media of the "war on the car" that it took so long for yet another case of Road Rage involving a motorist and a cyclist to occur. After all, this city is known for its Bike Rage, as evidenced here:

Toronto is at the top of the list for both "Drivers attacking cyclists" and "Cyclists attacking drivers." How's that for notoriety?

And now, the media's coverage of the Bryan/Sheppard incident is yet another example of Bike Rage that the world sees, like this:

Which leads to believe that the cyclists in the city aren't seeing the love that they've been promised by City Hall or from Queens Park, and that there are forces out there to keep cyclists "in their place." Meanwhile cyclists aren't content to put up with the awful excuse and behaviour that motorists call "driving" on our city's roads. I thought drivers are licensed, but not that you can tell. Motorists act like maniacs, and are constantly risking the lives of pedestrians, cyclists and each other. They have a deadly weapon under their control yet refuse to acknowledge it. No wonder when a motorist hits a cyclist (as Bryant is alleged to have to done to Sheppard) the cyclist "freaks on their hood" (as Sheppard is alleged to have done to Bryant's car).

Of course there’s irony in this, because people would like cyclists to be licensed. Let’s start by raising the bar for Motorists, who have killing machines under their control, before going after the cyclists.

The further irony is also not lost on me that Bryant, with past ties in the Provincial Government, is alleged to be the bad guy in this, and is looking to worm his way out. The province has done nothing at all to help cyclists in this province, except to fund a few speakers to talk about cycling for our health and tourism. Great, some promised love, never delivered.

The irony extends: Gil Penalosa of Walk and bike for Life is one of those speakers that the province has funded to talk. His talks are always about how "Now is the time to take action! Not in six weeks, or six months, or next year, or two years; but NOW!" I have heard his speech enough times to still hear his Spanish accent and enthusiastic tone ringing in my head.

Many jurisdictions in the states have passed "safe passing laws" and "3-foot bills" to provide clear guidance in law to motorists as to what is too close when passing. Ontario has no known plans at this point. But for the premier to worm his way out, I expect this to be suddenly announced at the "Ontario Bike Summit" in Waterloo later this month. (Hey, Premier! Too bad, but it's late!! And too bad that it's one of your buddies who had to kill someone to make this happen.)

And the City isn't helping either. By constantly stalling and delaying bike lanes, it's turning our support against many of those who could be allies in City Hall. And our strike has only caused more delays. City Hall can re-open it's own decisions, and I hope a councillor tries. But I don't expect much.

The answer is for our governments to stop with the mixed messages. Make it clear that bikes belong on our roads with actions, not just words. Fund cycling infrastructure, pass better laws, create better policies, paint bike lanes, fund cycling education in our schools, put more onus on motor vehicle drivers to avoid the collision, make insurance more expensive. Enough of the platitudes of how good for us biking is; make it easier and safer to do so. And if it means fewer cars, then good: we'll all be better off.

And, as Gil said: Do it Now!

Comments

The Police are showing their responsiveness to the Bryant incident. They are embarrassed by it. Accordingly they are going on the offensive. Below are direct quotes from the Toronto Sun.

They have to have proper lighting, they have to abide by all the rules of the road, they have to stop at stop signs," Toronto Police Sgt. Jack West, of the 54 Division traffic unit, said yesterday after a morning of handing out information flyers to cyclists and drivers around the heavily cycled Danforth and Broadview Aves. "We haven't been really enforcing it for years."

The educational side of the cyclist blitz in 54 Division -- bounded by the Don River, Eglinton Ave., Victoria Park Ave. and Danforth Ave. -- ends Sept. 29.

The following day, a "zero tolerance" blitz will mean tickets galore for cyclists not obeying the rules in the division, complete with four mounted police officers galloping down the Danforth to enforce the rules, West said.

With responses like this the police wonder why the cycling community doesn't trust them.

David,

This is pure speculation on your part, and I don't like it.

I personally think there should be a lot more enforcement on our roads for both drivers and cyclists, so this is all good to me.

David,

You are doing nothing but fanning flames in this post. I am a die-hard cyclist but with posts like this you ruin what little respect cyclists do have in this city.

You are a akin to a fanatic that refuses to use logic for the sake of your beliefs.

I couldn't take anything you wrote seriously after the section where you excuse cyclists for attacking motorists because motorists have a deadly weapon that they don't wish to control.

I am SO glad that you are joining the ranks of idiot motorists by blanket statements made in your post about motorists.

Now i can safely say there are a group of idiot motorists that blanket all cyclists with the same hatred...and there are a group of idiot cyclists that return the 'blanket of hate'.

Good for you, loser.

Uber and out.

..alone!

http://www.torontosun.com/news/torontoandgta/2009/09/04/10...

^not speculation. It is really there. The irony is the sun published this gem:

  • Failing to move right for a passing vehicle: $110

the same day the star published this:

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/690848

"Cyclists entitled to whole lane, bicycle cop says"

Peddlar disagrees with my statement. Fair enough. I don't agree with everyones comments on this page either. Everyone in total disagreement all the time would make a dull web site.

Uber is a different matter. His discourse is to call me a loser, fanatic and idiot. He doesn't attack what I wrote, he goes for the personal.

Did you even read my comment Uber? Where did I say about cars?. How am I joining idiot motorists with blanket statements. Did you perhaps confuse me with someone else?

What I quoted was factual. There is a police crackdown in 54 Division. I quoted directly from the Toronto Sun. Metro also covered it. The links have already been posted on this site. Look them up.

I don't mind disagreement. But lets keep it as a discord. I find personal attacks like Uber's distasteful. Disagree with my interpretation but keep it civilized.

The Sun doesn't understand that this refers to passing rules for narrow, one-lane roads. As long as you are to the right of the yellow centre line, you are OK.

In Toronto, these rules would really only be relevant in some narrow alleyways, but here they are!

Here's the law, from section 148 of the Highway Traffic Act:

  1. (1) Every person in charge of a vehicle on a highway meeting another vehicle shall turn out to the right from the centre of the roadway, allowing the other vehicle one-half of the roadway free.

(2) Every person in charge of a vehicle or on horseback on a highway who is overtaken by a vehicle or equestrian travelling at a greater speed shall turn out to the right and allow the overtaking vehicle or equestrian to pass.

Source:

http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/statutes/english/elaws_st...

Just a follow-up to my last,

As long as one is completely in the right lane, you've got the right to the whole lane. If there is only one lane each way, the cyclist has the right to the whole lane.

The "turn out to the right" rules prevent some wide motor vehicle from driving down the centre of the road and blocking traffic going both ways.

http://crapwalthamforest.blogspot.com/2009/09/war-on-motor...

"Tuesday, 8 September 2009
War on the motorist
Horrifying news from the Daily Mail.

The war on the motorist has taken a savage new turn.

Cameras are being deployed in car parks to catch drivers who haven't paid for a parking ticket and those who have no car tax. They are linked to the DVLA driver database, allowing an almost instantaneous check of registrations.

The information is being used to fine hundreds of motorists and in some cases details are being passed on to bailiffs to chase unpaid tickets.

Yesterday privacy campaigners warned traditional freedoms were under grave threat from creeping state surveillance.

What kind of society are we living in when the innocent motorist can’t dodge paying for insurance or a parking ticket without a vicious shaven-headed brute knocking on their front door and threatening to seize their telly? Or even worse: their car.
Posted by freewheeler at 17:36"

What these things boil down to is people losing their tempers and committing violent acts. We can get rid of these silly labels which allow people who commit acts of violence to blame cars, cyclists, pedestrians, construction, potholes, narrow roads, traffic lights, snow plows and etc for making them do it.

You don't see police charging people with road-rage because it's an euphemism. Police often lay the real charges which are assault, murder and so forth. Granted many of these charges are less severe because they were committed using an automobile which somehow makes it less criminal. Just check out this drunk driver who was allowed to keep driving drunk until the eventual happened.

Media advisory,
Thursday, September 3, 2009, 7 a.m.,
Broadview Avenue at Danforth Avenue,
54 Division Safe Cycling awareness campaign

54 Division
416-808-5400

The launch of the 54 Division Safe Cycling awareness campaign will take place on Thursday, September 3, 2009, at 7 a.m., on Broadview Avenue at Danforth Avenue.

The campaign begins on Thursday, September 3, 2009, and concludes on Tuesday, September 29, 2009. The campaign is designed to promote awareness and education by reducing the potential for cycle-related injuries.

54 Division officers will be handing out safe cycling pamphlets to cyclists in the Broadview Avenue/Danforth Avenue area.

The Toronto Police Service reminds motorists of the dangers of opening car doors in the path of cyclists, and the importance of checking blind spots prior to making right turns.

Police would like to remind cyclists of the importance of registering their bikes. Click here for details of the TPS online bike registration program.

For media inquires, please contact Sergeant Jack West at 416-808-5424.

Constable Tony Vella, Public Information, for Sergeant Jack West, 54 Division

In other news, the police have determined that because Darcy Allan Sheppard was not on a bike at the time of his death he was a pedestrian fatality.

Finally, a new website has emerged. It is called Bryantfacts. It is paid for and maintained by Bryants legal team.

No matter what local government does on this issue it will always be a problem. During rush hour traffic people are frustrated much of the time on the road. This frustration is there long before they come to a bike rider on the road. These drivers may just as easily be insulting to a biker as they are to another car driver. They may hit a bike just as easily as they may hit another car. It is not the fault of the bike rider, to be sure. You are still, however, in the path of a frustrated motorist. Things will happen. casino

Dutring a visit to TO, my brother remarked more than once at how everyone seemed in such a rush on the streets of Toronto (we were driving at the time). I consider this is valid observation since he was a long haul trucker for over 10 years.

It made me think that someone ought to measure the affect of long distance car commuting on drivers. Perhaps it may lead us to consider mas public and alternative forms of transportation more seriously.

You want to make cyclists safe? Enforce traffic laws on drivers. Dinosaurs...

People are in a rush in Tokyo, and the roads are far more crowded with bikes and cars, and narrower... but far safer. Fewer police on the roads too. What gives? Our culture encourages anti-social narcissism. I see it on the streets, in the classroom, the media, and on transit. Sickening.

Motorists are in a position where they can wield violence over cyclists and smaller road users. Many drivers chose to take their frustrations out on the vulnerable cyclist or pedestrian knowing they can get away without having the threat of violence or actual violence inflicted in return. So, i find there is an element of sadistic behavior on behalf of the motorist when they are closing in on their victim of the day. I might even say it brings out the psychopathic tendencies in those A-types.

The same isn't true in car to car anger, both are equal, but in SUV to car anger you again get sadistic pleasure being taken by the more "powerful" driver.

You are right though, it isn't just the driving experience, but the driver. Having said that, driving does seem to be able to dismantle people's decency and patience quite effectively.

I also saw that release on the TPS (Toronto Police Services) website. However, I travel that area a couple of times a day but I have yet to see any police officers handing out pamphlets or talking to cyclists/motorists. Oh well, it sounded nice.

One Less Car

I bike to work everyday though downtown traffic (from University and Bloor to Sherbourne and Front) and experience nothing but courtesy and fair treatment from cars 99.99% of the time. I think it is a gross exaggeration to say that drivers are maniacs.

"Don't talk crazy. We're all full up here."

Or maybe you're just a non-cycling troll...

99% of drivers are fine would be my experience too, we tend to remember the incidents where we meet up with that 1 who is the exception.

Svend and Jack don't agree on the percentage of good drivers: 99% versus 99.99%. One thinks just 1:100 drivers are bad, and the other 1:10000. I don't buy the former, and can't believe someone would state the latter.

You disagree with someone, that makes him a troll?
It's only a perception, we aren't equipped with stats and neither are you.

If I had to count the number of traffic offences committed daily by both cyclists & drivers I'd say that they were pretty close.

The vast majority of drivers I encounter on my daily commute are just fine thanks, the red light runners and speed freaks are tops on my list of Drivers I could do without.

On the other hand, Cyclists that refuse to yield to traffic that has the right of way, takes the lead ahead of riders that don't use lights.

If we want to foster a cycling culture in Toronto it is going to take cooperation on the part of all road users to make it work; and we’ll get there all the more quickly if we would stop demonizing each other.

pennyfarthing ok frye