Torontonians Calling For Change After Series Of Cyclist Deaths

Cyclists fed up with uptick in bike-related deaths

Toronto’s former chief urban planner Jennifer Keesmaat is calling for a state of emergency in the wake of a string of cyclist and pedestrian deaths in Toronto.

On Tuesday afternoon, a 58-year-old woman on her bike died after colliding with a flatbed truck near Bloor and St. George. Toronto Police announced the same day the death of another cyclist, age 36, succumbed to his injuries from collision on with a car at Colborne Lodge Dr. and Lake Shore that took place May 15th.

Tuesday’s tragedies bring the official pedestrian and cyclist toll up to 93, exactly one day before the two-year mark of Mayor John Tory’s Vision Zero announcement. The project aimed to have zero pedestrian deaths by the year 2021.

Keesmaat took to Twitter Tuesday to share her grief over the latest death. “It’s time to declare a State of Emergency, and immediately begin with the basics,” Keesmaat wrote. “First step is to lower speed limits and enforce them. The game playing – pretending we don’t know what to do – must stop.”

Citizens have added their voice into the discussion, outraged that little has been done to educate Torontonians about cyclist and safe driving practises.

Unfortunately, some people don’t see the whole picture. Mere hours before the announcement of both deaths Tuesday, Toronto Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti enraged cyclists when he said that they don’t belong on roads at all.

What many fail to see is that biking is their only form of transportation other than taking the TTC. Having more cyclists on the streets means less traffic, less pollution, and not to mention a more active community. Keesmaat says we have much to do if we are to compare ourselves to bike-friendly cities like Oslo, Amsterdam or Copenhagen. Even our neighbours to the north-east in Montreal have more secure bike system in place.

There is currently a die-in planned for City Hall this Friday to protest the upticks in cyclist deaths.

Image courtesy TPS TrafficServices