A preventable death

All photos by Tino

Jenna Morrison died this week. A mother, wife, cyclist and yoga teacher, Jenna was crushed by a turning truck at Sterling and Dundas, near the entrance of the Toronto West Railpath. There was a strong outcry from cyclists and other Torontonians on Twitter, newspapers and blogs. Most people agree it was preventable, and have suggested a number of ways to have prevented it, including truck side guards, bike lanes, safer intersection. Some have also stressed that Jenna should not have been next to the truck and that she was in the blind spot. That may have also contributed but it doesn't obviate other ways to prevent cyclists from getting into these tough spots or ways to minimize the danger if they do.

The Torontoist details how the fight for side guards on large trucks has been stuck in limbo as MP Olivia Chow has championed them for years. A ten year old coroner's inquest recommended side guards when determining they would help save some lives. But an intransigent federal Ministry of Transportation has figured that “side guards would result in ‘decreased competitiveness for Canadian trucking companies'", thus putting a price on these human beings equal to the cost of the roll out of a relatively inexpensive safety measure.

Banner along Railpath

Jack Layton Ghost Bike

Photos by Tino

"Bicycle Jack": 1950-2011. A progressive politician dies

Source: Toronto Star

It's all over Canadian news that Jack Layton, Official Opposition and NDP Leader, former Toronto City Councillor and cycling advocate, died this morning, after fighting a recurring cancer.

I'd like to comment on what Jack has done for cycling in this city. See a fuller timeline of all of Bicycle Jack's accomplishements at the CBC. Thanks to Sue-Ann Levy for the title, "Bicycle Jack". It's not really derogatory you know.

I first met Jack and Olivia a few years ago as they road their tandem bike together up to Downsview Park from City Hall to support the SARS concert, and I was riding along as a Cycling Ambassador, working for the City. They could really fly on that bike as we took over the closed off Allen Expressway. When Olivia was councillor I would regularly see her bike on her way to work. Jack was a dedicated supporter of cycling and sustainable, equitable transportation. He saw it as integral to social justice, and was passionate about cycling issues just like he was passionate about homelessness, support for seniors and children, and other environmental issues.

Another cyclist killed

The Toronto Star is reporting that a cyclist was hit and killed by a left-turning SUV, at the corner of Trethewey Dr. and Tedder St. (map).

The westbound cyclist was hit at the intersection of Trethewey Dr. and Tedder St. at about 8 a.m. by a 4Runner making a left turn, said Toronto police Sgt. Tim Burrows.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The man driving the 4 Runner remained at the scene and is fully co-operating with police, Burrows said, adding that no decision had been made on whether charges would be laid.

We will update you with more details as they come in. Media links:

Memorial Ride Thursday

Ghost bikeGhost bike
The memorial ride will leave from Bloor and Spadina at 9AM Thursday
May 29th. Bring flowers and ribbons.

Cyclist killed on Eglinton Ave.

The Toronto Star is reporting that a cyclist was killed on Thursday at 1:00pm after being doored and run over on Eglinton Ave. near Braemar Ave (Map).

A 57 year-old male cyclist was killed today after a collision with an opening car door hurled him into oncoming traffic. He was the city's 20th traffic fatality this year.

The accident occurred as the man was biking eastbound on Eglinton Ave., near Braemar Ave., just after 1 p.m. this afternoon. The cyclist was struck by a Ford cube van after colliding with the driver's side door of a parked Volvo, police say.

He was taken to hospital, but died from his injuries around 5 p.m. this evening.

Police are asking for any witnesses to the collision to call 416-808-1900.

I'm sure more details will show up in the media soon, and ARC will hold a memorial next Thursday.

Very sad. I was hoping this year would continue on a positive note...

Updated media links:

Update: Charges laid.

Streamlining the Roadside Memorial

It had to happen sooner or later: it was only a matter of time that we'd start seeing the roadside memorial be streamlined and go mainstream. Thanks to Bob Fuller for helping all those drivers out there who will find themselves in a sticky situation after hitting a jogger, veteran or a kid on a bike.

Bob Fuller provides you with a handy 1-800 number to call after you've hit someone and would like to quickly put up a memorial.

Nothing says "I'm sorry" like a $20 memorial. Now you too can get quick roadside assistance after someone gets in the way of your car (as long as you live in Chicago). I hope we can start seeing this coming to Toronto some day soon!

Local press for cyclist memorial

Back in September I had put up a memorial for Charlie Prinsep in Brooks, Alberta. I finally got an email attachment from my mom with the snipping from the local Brooks press, The Brooks Bulletin. (She doesn't get Brooks news so it isn't her fault. I shouldn't criticize the woman that put up with me all those years.)

I'm a bit disappointed that the reporter didn't mention I Bike T.O. but then it really wasn't about the blog, was it. Rather it was about doing something nice for the Prinsep family. I think the little I did went over well: I received emails from Charlie's mother and brother thanking me and my parents for the memorial. It was all so easy to do so really I'm just glad that the little we did helped them out.

I also tried to make a plug for improving road conditions for cyclists in this rural community but my concrete suggestions were cut out in the name of word count. They were replaced with "more has to be done". Yes, let's do more. And whatever more is done better be good and safe. I don't want to report about any more memorials.

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