02

Blog

Putting a Human Face to Vulnerable Road Users

Register for Ontario VRU Stakeholders Meeting, Friday, May 3, 2019

On the evening of March 18th 2019, Mike Wilkomirsky was riding along Bay Street in downtown Toronto when a driver made an abrupt left turn in front of him, forcing Mike to hit his breaks to avoid a potentially deadly collision.  As most of us would do, Mike rode up to the car to confront the driver on their dangerous actions, he yelled at the driver and carried on his ride, assuming that was the end of the confrontation.

Unfortunately, when Mike heard the driver slam on his accelerator as he was riding away, he realized it wasn’t over – the driver was going to run him down with his SUV.  Mike took quick action and was able to angle his bike towards the sidewalk, turning just enough so that the driver ran into the back of his bike in a deliberate attempt to hit him.  Mike was left with minor cuts and bruising and is now being treated for infection in his left leg, but it could have been a lot worse had he not been aware of the SUV coming towards him.  

Toronto Police are still searching for the driver, any witnesses are asked to please come forward.  At this time, we are unsure of the potential charges if the driver is found, but sadly, we have come to realize that whenever a car is the weapon of choice, our system cuts the driver a break.

James Logan was also run down by a driver who actively pursued him with his car, drove over him, took off, and left James with horrendous injuries.  No charges were laid. However, through accessing video footage and a private investigator hired by us, we were able to track down the car, its owner and the potential driver. Although both are subject to a civil suit (paid and defended by an insurance company), the driver who used the car as a weapon will never be subject to any punishment.

We have seen this behaviour towards cyclists too many times to count, a recent Australian study had found that more than half of car drivers think cyclists are not completely human, with a link between the dehumanization of bike riders and acts of deliberate aggression towards them on the road.  

A car is a weapon, plain and simple.  It is a two ton weapon that can maim, crush and kill with a turn of a wheel.  It is not meant to do this, but let’s not forget it is one of the leading causes of injury and death on our streets and it is doing this on too frequent of a basis.  Our legal system has granted the car special status; it is one of leniency given to the offender.  

Our province’s legislation does not protect our Vulnerable Road Users (VRU).  While we have been lobbying to government officials for years, our politicians have chosen not to prioritize the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and other road users that do not have the benefit of car protection.  Bike Law Canada’s Coalition for Vulnerable Road User Laws has been working with MPP Jessica Bell on her Private Member’s Bill 62:  Protecting Vulnerable Road Users.  We are actively seeking organizations to join our coalition and lobby with us to demand our government pass this important piece of legislation.  With the consistently record breaking traffic fatalities of a VRU each year, this legislation is well overdue.    

A license to drive a car is a privilege that is to be suspended and permanently revoked if misused.  Let’s stop treating it like it is an enshrined right. It’s not.

If you belong to an organization in Ontario that supports legislation for Vulnerable Road User Laws, please register here for our VRU Stakeholders Meeting on Friday, May 3, all are welcome.  

Comments

Rick Bernardi Sep 13, 2019

Stop as Yield. It was the legislative Holy Grail for Oregon cyclists. Idaho had pioneered the Stop As Yield concept—allowing cyclists to treat a stop sign as if it’s a yield sign—in 1982, and for decades, Idaho remained the only state where Stop as Yield was legal for cyclists, despite the actual practice being widespread, […]

Read More
Peter Wilborn Aug 20, 2019

A camera is necessary kit for every ride. But finding the right camera has been a challenge, until now. My rebuttable presumption: the Ricoh GR III is the best cycling camera of all time. Read on, and if you can prove there’s a better one, let me know. The Ideal Cycling Camera To find the […]

Read More
Human Shield Bike Lane
Bruce Hagen Jul 29, 2019

If you ride bikes around Atlanta, chances are that you know Niklas Vollmer and Andreas Wolfe.  They’re some of the many people in town who seem to live on their bikes and can be seen riding everywhere.  While they both have their “day jobs,” folks in the cycling world know them for their place in […]

Read More
Bruce Hagen Jul 19, 2019

This is a time when advocacy efforts are crucial to making our streets safer for everyone. Within 24 hours from the Two Wheel Tuesday gathering we suffered two more casualties.  On Wednesday morning, Marten Bijvank was on his way to work on his bicycle when he was struck and killed by an unlicensed DUI driver […]

Read More
AJ's Bicycle Shop in Iowa
Jim Freeman Jul 15, 2019

Bicycling Magazine recently published an article titled, “Hey, Bike Shops; Stop Treating Customers Like Garbage.”  The story follows a heavy-set 59 year old’s sad tale of how he was treated poorly from a number of local bike shops.   First and foremost, I would be clear that bikes are for almost everyone.  If you are big, […]

Read More
Bike accident scene
Rick Bernardi Jul 12, 2019

The big bike news out of the Oregon legislature this year was the passage of a Stop as Yield law. This was an enormous legislative victory for Oregon cyclists, the culmination of over a decade of advocacy. But it wasn’t the only legislative victory for Oregon cyclists this legislative session. A less glamorous but equally […]

Read More
Uber Biking Escort
Charlie Thomas Jul 11, 2019

I often find myself wanting to ride on a roadway corridor that doesn’t want me there. At best, I could make it across alive with some close calls and a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. At worst, I wouldn’t be around to write this blog post.  Of course, a safer, alternate route […]

Read More
Cycling Without Age Bike Law
Brian Weiss Jul 11, 2019

The founder of the Lakewood Bicycle Advisory Team loves his life on two wheels. Gary Harty was born in Bellows Falls, Vermont, and raised in Colorado – Denver Metro area, and now makes bicycling in Lakewood, Colorado safe and fun.  Gary is part of the baby boomer generation. He attended Colorado State University (CSU) and […]

Read More
Rachael Maney Bike Law
Rachael Maney Jul 10, 2019

Outrage.  It is what drives action and engagement on the interwebs these days. If it’s not outrageous, it’s boring. The Election of 2018 proved that outrage increases TOS (“time on site”) more than friendship, sympathy, desire, or anything else.  Judgment. By definition it is necessary to reach any conclusion about anything. But passing it on […]

Read More
Stop as Yield for Cyclists
Rick Bernardi Jul 09, 2019

The Oregon Legislature made national news this past week, for all the wrong reasons. The State Senate, with a super-majority of Democrats in control, had been working on climate legislation which would have Oregon join a cap-and-trade market with California and Quebec. Unable to stop the legislation, Republican Senators fled the state en masse, preventing […]

Read More
Bike Law Alps
Charlie Thomas Jul 07, 2019

It’s Tour de France time. I follow the racing daily through the footage on TV feed and still photos. But I hadn’t ever considered what’s happening on the other side of the camera lens. Like, what actually goes into snapping these pictures that we see documenting the Tour’s happenings? I started to care more about […]

Read More
E Bike and insurance
Lauri Boxer-Macomber Jul 01, 2019

Prologue  Last month, I rode across the Casco Bay Bridge to talk e-bikes and insurance with Bob O’Brien, the Vice President of Noyes, Hall and Allen Insurance in South Portland, Maine.  Although I have yet to invest in an e-bike for myself, I have been captivated by e-bikes and their potential to get and keep […]

Read More
Load More