A Call for Calm on Our Roads

By Ben Bull
Published September 02, 2009

The Star makes a call for calm on our roads in today's editorial:

After ex-Attorney General Michael Bryant's formal charge of criminal negligence causing death in an altercation with a cyclist, today's editorial examines the various probable causes and consequences for our repeated clashes on the road:

The incident serves as a tragic reminder that we all have to share the road: motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.

That means we have to be respectful of each other. But, given the enormous power imbalance between someone in a multi-tonne vehicle and someone on a bicycle in the same lane, motorists have a responsibility to be extra careful to watch out for cyclists.

This is not to say that cyclists (and pedestrians) have no obligation to follow the rules of the road; they do. But it is an acknowledgement that the consequences are far more deadly for cyclists than motorists when the two collide.

Unfortunately, at the very time when we are encouraging cycling as a healthy, environmentally friendly choice and, accordingly, seeing more cyclists on the road, we are seeing a growing animosity between them and motorists.

We should all... strive to find the courtesy, patience and respect for life that is needed to share the road without tragedy.

We've examined the plight of cyclists and pedestrians a lot on this site. A side column in today's paper notes three other serious accidents this week. One thing is for certain: it's dangerous out there and we all need to remember to be safe.

Ben Bull lives in downtown Toronto. He's been working on a book of short stories for about 10 years now and hopes to be finished tomorrow. He also has a movie blog.


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By jason (registered) | Posted September 02, 2009 at 16:00:40

like I've always said, if the same number of people killed in "accidents" were killed by guns each year, it would be mass hysteria. Instead, we all just continue to speed along yelling at each other with no regard for the real possibility that we could take another human life at any moment.

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By UrbanRenaissance (registered) | Posted September 03, 2009 at 12:55:41

I don't normally find myself agreeing with many of the Nation Post's Editorials but this one by John Moore is bang on.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted September 03, 2009 at 13:48:50

Wow! I didn't think the National Post had it in them to run this:

But let's be clear about something: in this conflict it's the motorists who are going to have to give. The critical problem is attitude. Most motorists labour under the misapprehension that the entire urban environment was constructed for cars and cars alone. Streetcars are a lumbering menace. Pedestrians are a time wasting nuisance and bikes are regarded as playthings for children, hippies and oddballs.

And yet the world over, bikes are a completely legitimate form of transportation. Where cities have carved out a safe and sufficient portion of the roadway for bicycles, their numbers have flourished. In one year alone the number of people using bikes daily in New York City has risen 35%.


Research by the U of T's Chris Cavacuiti finds that in collisions between bikes and motor vehicles the motorist is to blame 90% of the time. Where Torontonians are now calling for regulation of bikes and re-education of cyclists, experience in Europe proves that it's drivers who need to change their habits. Intensive public campaigns to train motorists to be more aware of bikes by checking behind them before opening doors and looking twice before turning have dramatically reduced collisions.

Believe me, most cyclists are all too well aware of our surroundings when we're on the road. We don't have a two ton steel cage to protect us from our mistakes.

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By jason (registered) | Posted September 03, 2009 at 13:51:52

WOW. That was published in the Post?? Great stuff.

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By UrbanRenaissance (registered) | Posted September 03, 2009 at 13:59:15

"[...] John Moore is the host of the drive home show on NewsTalk 1010 CFRB and a proud member of the Toronto Cyclists Union."

I wonder if reading drive home traffic reports every day is what encouraged him to ride a bike? lol

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted September 05, 2009 at 08:45:20

I saw a video clip to what looks like the beginning of the episode?

I seen the bike drive by the car of the driver's side and progressed ahead of the car, then I seen the car being driven forward toward the bike aggressively, intentionally.

I have to ask myself, what right did the driver have to intimidate the cyclist in that way? What kind of personality is the person, the driver, really? Classic case of bullying.

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