Prosecution drops criminal charges against Michael Bryant

The media is reporting that prosecutor Richard Peck has dropped criminal charges against Michael Bryant, who was charged with criminal negligence causing death and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death, after the incident that left Darcy Allan Sheppard dead.

Richard Peck felt there was no reasonable chance of convicting Bryant.

Quote from The Star:

If the prosecution determines there is no reasonable prospect of conviction then the charge must be withdrawn, Peck told the judge in front of a courtroom packed with reporters.

“This case falls short of that standard and I’ll explain why,” the lawyer said.

He added the decision was his “mine and mine alone” and no one from Attorney General’s office had any input into the decision-making process.

I'm wondering if there will be other non-criminal charges pursued after this.

Personally, I'm still trying to make sense of this...

Media coverage:

Province should create a bike fund from HST on bikes: Share the Road Coalition

The Ontario government should create a $20 million Ontario Bicycling Investment Fund with the extra money that will be collected through the new HST. This is one of the recommendations found in the Green Paper (pdf) released by the Share the Road Cycling Coalition last Friday.

Currently bicycles and bike safety equipment are PST exempt, but this will change with the new HST when the province starts collecting it in July.

Ontario is falling behind other jurisdictions when it comes to cycling policy. Both BC and Quebec have policies and funding to encourage cycling. Even the US has a federal fund to allow municipalities to invest in cycling infrastructure. We need to incorporate cycling into provincial transportation policy: says Eleanor McMahon, founder and CEO of Share the Road Cycling Coalition.

The bike fund would represent a fraction of the investment by the Quebec government into La Route Verte ($200 million), which brings in $38 million in government revenue through tourist dollars spent.

Witnesses Sought Queen & Shaw - Nov. 25

Over the years, I have seen many of these notices on utility poles. There are a timely reminder of how important witnesses are. Hopefully, someone who read this post can help.

Cyclist killed in Mississauga

I'm sad to report that another cyclist has been killed on the streets on Mississauga. From the few details provided by the police and media, it sounds like the cyclist was riding westbound on Bloor St. at Riverspray Cres. (Between Tomken and Dixie), when he was struck from behind by two motor vehicles.

Still not too many details available, but Peel Regional Police are looking for more witnesses. Here's the text from the Police press release:

Peel Police - Motor Vehicle Collision – Cyclist Struck
November 25, 2009

Mississauga – Investigators from the Peel Regional Police Major Collision Bureau are appealing for witnesses to come forward, as they investigate the circumstances surrounding a motor vehicle collision that has claimed the life of a Mississauga man.

Proposed auto insurance changes will negatively affect cyclists

The following email comes from Patrick Brown, a cyclist-supporting lawyer here in Toronto. Could cyclists be getting screwed over with insurance settlements in the future? Read on.

This morning I attended a stakeholders meeting with the Ministry of Finance regarding the new changes to auto insurance. It is now on the news.

The present law reform is not fair to cyclists, public transit users or pedestrians.

Today I specially asked whether the reduce benefits being proposed will apply to innocently injured cyclists, pedestrians and transit users. The answer was "yes".

The system here in Ontario is complex to say the least, but I will try to simplify as best I can the issue below.

When anyone [including cyclist, pedestrian car driver] is injured or killed by a bad driver[ even a drunk driver], they will have various benefits available to them. These include various things to help them get better. Medical benefits, rehab benefits, attendant care etc.

With the new changes introduced today, many benefits are being drastically reduced. However, the justification for such a reduction is "consumer choice".

The new insurance reforms provide an option to the auto insurance policy holders to increase the amount of their benefits if they so chose. They simply up the premium in the policy.

However, if you are a cyclist, pedestrian or transit user, and do not have a car insurance policy, you do not have the ability to buy up on your benefits. You have no policy to do so. You must accept these reductions.

Essentially your benefits (if you are part of this group) have just been drastically reduced without the choice of getting more coverage.

How significant are these changes to cyclist and pedestrians. The following are the amount of benefits being reduced.

  1. Medical Rehabilitation Benefits [non catastrophically injured] are being reduced from 100,000 to 50,000
  2. Attendant Care Benefits [for non catastrophically injured ] are being reduced from 72,000 to 36,000.00
  3. Housekeeping and caregiver benefits eliminated.

Bike-on-bike collision, cyclist killed

According to this Toronto Police news release, two cyclists collided on the trail near Bayview Ave. and Pottery Road, resulting in the death of an 84 year old man.

Police request assistance with bicycle−on−bicycle collision
Broadcast time: 17:35
Thursday, October 22, 2009

Traffic Services

On Tuesday, October 20, 2009, at 11:43 p.m., police responded to a call for a bicycle−on−bicycle collision, in the Bayview Avenue/Pottery Road area.

It is reported that:

  • an 84–year−old man was riding southbound on a bicycle path, just south of Pottery Road, adjacent to Bayview Avenue,
  • the man was descending a hill when his shoulder struck the shoulder of a 61−year−old man riding his bike,
  • the 84−year−old man, who was wearing a helmet, fell to the ground and struck his head,

He was taken to hospital with life−threatening injuries and later died.

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).

Constable Isabelle Cotton, Public Information, for Constable Hugh Smith, Traffic Services

Bryant's road rage: cycling lawyer weighs in

Bob Mionske, a cycling lawyer, author of Bicycling & the Law, and contributor to Bicycling magazine, weighs in on the incident of road rage and death involving Michael Bryant, former Ontario Attorney General, and Darcy Sheppard, now deceased bike courier. Despite the work of Bryant's PR firm, Navigator Ltd, feeding the prejudices of newspapers such as the Ottawa Citizen or the Toronto Sun (with the help of their Twitter account @bryantfacts), there was an amazing amount of corroborating evidence from witnesses and security cameras that make it quite hard to spin it so that Bryant appears to be just an innocent victim. Rather we know that Bryant rammed Sheppard out of the way before fleeing the scene while Sheppard gave chase:

So to set the record straight, here’s what really happened.

The night of August 31, Darcy Allan Sheppard was on his bike on Bloor Street, riding home from his fiancee’s apartment. It was 9:45 p.m. As he approached a traffic light, he passed to the left of a Saab convertible that we now know was Michael Bryant’s. After passing Bryant, who was stopped at the light, Sheppard cut in front of his car and also came to a stop. Shortly thereafter, as the light turned green, Bryant drove forward, perhaps bumping Sheppard’s wheel. Sheppard turned his head back, in Bryant’s direction. Witnesses reported that when the light turned green, there was a toot of the horn from Bryant, and a shout to “get moving,” followed—perhaps—by a return shout from Sheppard. Then, incredibly, Bryant hit the gas, pushing Sheppard forward into the intersection, knocking him off his bike. As Sheppard struggled to get to his feet, Bryant backed up, stopped, turned his wheel and began to drive past Sheppard as he sped away.

Sheppard gave chase, grabbing onto Bryant’s car as it sped by. Witnesses reported hearing shouting, and noted that Bryant was “very, very angry.” They also reported that as Bryant sped down the street with Sheppard clinging to his car, he was driving on the wrong side of the street, at about 60 miles per hour, driving up onto the sidewalk, driving against the trees and posts and newspaper boxes lining the street in what they reported appeared to be an attempt to brush Sheppard off his car. Down the street 100 yards, Sheppard was slammed into a mail collection box, and crumpled into a heap in the street as Bryant’s rear wheels ran over him. Witnesses reported that Sheppard, who lay in the street bleeding heavily from his nose and mouth, attempted to get up, but was advised to remain still until an ambulance arrived. Bryant continued driving down the street to the end of the block, before turning in to the driveway of a luxury hotel, where he finally stopped his car.

This is not spin. It is not supposition. It is not rumor. It is fact. We know this, because remarkably, the incident was captured on security cameras, which corroborated the eyewitness accounts . Anonymous spin doctors can suggest news leads and story angles to divert media and public attention, and anonymous internet comments can invent fantasy versions of what actually happened, but the camera doesn’t lie.

And the camera shows that on the night of August 31, Michael Bryant used his car to ram Darcy Sheppard out of his way, before fleeing the scene as Sheppard gave chase on foot. Moments later, Darcy Allan Sheppard lay dying on a Toronto street as Michael Bryant sped away.

Lower speed limits proposal by Toronto councillor

(Photo: sniderscion)

Councillor Bill Saundercook will be proposing to the City of Toronto's Pedestrian Committee a 10 km/h reduction in the speed limit across Toronto. His call is taking place just as Councillor Walker is pushing his own idea of "safety" by imposing more restrictions on cyclists with mandatory helmets and licenses. Guess which proposal is not blaming the victims and trying to instead get at the root of the problem: almost all traffic fatalities involve heavy motor vehicles.

"When you start seeing the (pedestrian) fatalities across Toronto, and you start studying where they're occurring, then you're going to see in the suburbs of Toronto ... where we have posted 60 km/h speed limits and in some places even as much as 70, that whenever there's a collision in those areas, it's usually a fatality," he said yesterday.

"You don't want people to say, 'I'm not going to walk because it's too risky.' "

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