Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Two incidents between cyclists and vehicles

It's heartbreaking to hear yet more incidents between cyclists and vehicles, particularly when someone dies. Both incidents lists here are reported by CP24.

First reported by CP24, is a man who died when he cut in front of a street car. They are large and can't stop on a dime. The man is reported to have " went through a red turn signal while the streetcar was proceeding through the intersection on a green light.".

The second reported by CP24, is a cyclist, specifically identified as a bike courier, who got into a fist fight with a driver. CP24 reports that the cyclist appeared to be struck by the car (obviously without much damage) and proceeded to start punching the driver through the car window. The driver was then reported to have to gotten out of the vehicle and punched the courier back.

Both incidents are disturbing and I believe the root of the problem lies with the ability to share the road, and the lack of knowledge of what is safe and reasonable to be doing on the road.

The man who died actually went through a red light right in front of a street car... there is no question that training that man to understand the rules of the road before he went out on his bike would have saved him, if he already did know the rules, he ignored them to his own final detriment. Unfortunately this is something I see happening all the time.

In the second case, I have no doubt that the bike courier felt that he had been wronged and wanted to let the driver know, but in what universe is it ok to start punching someone to get a point across? In that case, the vehicle has a licence plate for a reason and it is not safe or reasonable to start punching someone. Violence of that nature is not ok in my city.

What can be done after the fact to reduce the likelihood of those types of incidents from happening again?
  1. Make sure the drivers and cyclists are educated on how they can and should use the road. We need a better way to educate both drivers and cyclists before they get on the road.
  2. In the second case, the courier and maybe the driver should be charged with assault. Why were they not?
An accident is an accident and they can be reduced through education. Throwing punches is not accidental, it's assault and should be treated as such.

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