I saw a cyclist get hit by a car today

Let me start by saying the cyclist is alive. Eventually I watched him stand up and slowly walk to the police cruiser.

But he was hurt badly. And he was making a painful noise I’ll never forget.

It happened at King & Niagara. The driver, who was probably in his late teens or early 20s, was turning left on King. The cyclist was going straight south on Niagara. When he was hit, he flipped (his legs up in the air) and landed on the ground. The driver pulled over and ran to the cyclist. So did many pedestrians and the police were there within 4 minutes after the accident happened.

The driver kept saying “I didn’t see him!”, “I didn’t see him!”. And I believe the kid who looked like he just passed his G2. He likely didn’t see him. He probably wasn’t looking for a cyclist.

The thing is, the cyclist was likely riding at a very fast speed. So if he was coming south on Niagara then the driver probably thought he had enough time to turn or didn’t even think to look up the street for the cyclist.

The cyclist was wearing a helmet. If he wasn’t, I can’t imagine what kind of state he would be in. I think he landed on his shoulder and I think he’ll be spending some time at the hospital tonight. I hope he’ll be OK.

I wonder when he’ll get back on his bike? And I wonder when the young kid will feel comfortable driving again?

I don’t blame either for this accident. To help prevent it … maybe the cyclist should have slowed down when driving through a busy intersection, and the driver should always be aware of cyclists.

To me, tonight wasn’t a case of the blame game. Instead lets figure out the best way to improve our city’s biking infrastructure.

Because we can do better. Much better.

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Q&A with a frustrated driver

And that driver is my mom.

Every time I’m driving with my mom in the city, she expresses her frustration about cyclists. I decided to sit down with her this weekend to discuss her take on biking in the city. Here’s what she had to say.

Q: Do you hate all cyclists … other than me?
A: No! Absolutely not. I want to understand their choices when they do not obey the rules of the road. It’s frustrating when cyclists don’t obey the rules because I do. It’s the basic stuff like stopping at stop signs. It puts them in danger and I’m the one who has to live with it if I hit them.

Q: What bothers you the most about cyclists?
A: The unpredictability of them. What I mean by that is you don’t know if it’s someone who will obey the rules. So as soon as I see a cyclist, I don’t know if it’s someone who will cut me off, run a stop sign, etc., or not. And those cyclists who do not wear helmet – I just don’t understand that. So ultimately, I’m nervous with all cyclists.

Q: How many cyclists do you think obey the rules?
Sadly, I don’t even think it’s even 50/50. From my experience, it’s more like 30/70. 30% who obey and 70% who do not.

Q: Do you think car drivers want to share the road with cyclists?
Car drivers want to share the road but when cyclists cut in front of them, or drive in between the cars, it’s scary. From the drivers perspective, I’m the person who might hit you and that’s frightening. I don’t know if some cyclists get that – the impact it will have on someone who could hit you.

Q: If there’s one thing you think would make a big difference, what would it be?
A: A respect and understanding between each other on the road.

Q: Would you ever consider riding your bike in the city?
A: Yes. And I would obey the rules of the road and wear a helmet!

Q. Would you ever consider riding on Queen St or Spadina?
A: Unlikely.

Q: Do you believe cyclists and car drivers could live in harmony?
A: Absolutely. It will just take a change in attitude on both parts.

My mom, her bike & the country roads - her favourite place to ride

My mom, her bike & the country roads – her favourite place to ride