‘Life-changing injuries’: Toronto cyclist hospitalized in ‘terrifying’ lakeside accident

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Bike advocates are speaking out against dangerous city streets after a cyclist was left with ‘life-altering injuries’ after being hit while cycling on the Toronto waterfront during the weekend.

Police say the cyclist was hit by an eastbound driver on Lake Shore Boulevard West shortly after 7 a.m. Saturday. The driver lost control of his vehicle, ran over the sidewalk, crossed a grass divider, went over the Martin Goodman Trail and crashed into a metal guardrail on Oarsman Drive near the club rowing Argonaut.

The cyclist was rushed to a trauma center with “life-altering injuries”, police said. The driver remained at the scene after the crash and was taken to hospital with minor injuries.

The crash is “terrifying and infuriating,” said Jess Spieker, spokesperson for Friends and Families for Safe Streets. “For anyone using a roadway, there is nothing to keep you safe.”

At the crash site, the three lanes of Lake Shore Boulevard are separated from the Martin Goodman Trail by a sidewalk and a grassy median strip. At Oarsman Drive, there is no physical barrier between traffic and the trail; the metal railing protecting Oarsman Drive remained broken and twisted on Monday.

Spieker said the current road infrastructure encourages drivers to speed up because of the wide, straight roads.

Melissa Kulik, spokeswoman for Toronto Police Traffic Services, said charges have been laid under the Traffic Act, but “no further details can be provided”. Toronto police generally do not identify drivers charged with non-criminal traffic violations.

Police did not say where exactly the cyclist was riding when he was hit.

In 2015, Spieker also suffered “life-altering injuries” after being hit by a driver while riding her bicycle. His spine was broken; she suffered a brain injury.

“It diminished every part of my life,” she said. “Seeing that last accident is frustrating because it’s a pattern. Our leaders don’t care enough. They would rather maximize vehicles than human life.

Keagan Gartz, executive director of Cycle Toronto, agreed that road design should be the priority for traffic safety, noting that the Martin Goodman Trail is next to six lanes of traffic, a freeway and a major thoroughfare. . This proximity makes pedestrians and cyclists vulnerable, she said.

“It’s basically a road design problem because someone shouldn’t have been going that fast to go up a metal curb and hit someone on a bike,” she said. “Although they may have been distracted.”

If the penalties were tougher, drivers would be safer on the roads and cyclists would feel safer, added Jun Nogami of Advocacy for Respect for Cyclists. “Usually drivers just get a slap on the wrist,” he added.

Lawyer David Shellnutt pointed out that cyclists may not know there are benefits in place to help them if they are hit by a driver. Ontario’s No-Fault Accident Benefit kicks in immediately after a cyclist is injured, helping pay for lost wages and medical rehabilitation benefits, said Shellnutt, founder of Biking Lawyer LLP.

A key step is to report any accidents, because the more police reports and accidents are documented, the more progress can be made, he added.

“See a doctor and get the authorities there.”

Saturday’s crash happened near where a five-year-old boy died after falling off his bike in traffic in 2017. The boy’s death prompted a review of safety measures on the Martin Trail Goodman.

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