photo by: Paul Galipeau
I've lived on Dovercourt just south of Argyle for three years. Each and every day I get on my bike and take the back alley south to Queen or north to Argyle. Why? Because Dovercourt Road is a death trap - or a gruesome near death trap as one cyclist found out just over a week ago.
As a cyclist, you're endangered by northbound and southbound car traffic jockeying for passage alongside a row of parked cars. Stand anywhere south of Dundas on Dovercourt and you'll watch what plays out like an obstacle course run: car sees opening, hits the accelerator and makes it through a section of parked cars just in time to avoid hitting oncoming traffic. Then add rage and cabs ferrying partygoers from Ossington to Queen and back.
Did I mention there aren't any lights, stop signs, or speed bumps?
So now a cab driver, Sultan Ahmed of Maple remains in police custody for
trying to kill allegedly assaulting (click here for the list of charges) Chris Kasztelewicz by backing into him, then speeding away claiming he was the true victim of assault. Kasztelewicz barely survived - his right knee and leg didn't.
Sifting through the city's bicycle/motor-vehicle collision study some stats about cabs pop out. The report suggests taxis are over-represented in bike-car collisions like door prizes and motorist overtaking (cab passing bike). Aren't these the pros?
And yet there are no recommendations for cabs outside of that little sticker in the widow saying: "watch for cyclists".
While the Globe is suggesting Kasztelewicz's Jesus beard and hospital sheets make him a kind of symbol of suffering that will push forward cycling issues, the question is what IS being done besides having a good ole' auto-da-fe for one cabbie.
Who knows what cabbies are told about cycling rights? Is there some element of training? Is there a separate column for reports of professional driver (cabbie) collisions with cyclists? Are the professional drivers of the city supposed to be held in a higher regard or should they be given leeway because of the daily stress of a thankless job? Should cab company operators be hold some liability for letting poorly trained drivers on the streets? Should there be a cyclist-cab complaint registry that the Toronto Cyclists Union can use to lobby for changes?
Lots of questions.