Today is the second anniversary of the death of cyclist Ryan Carriere. Ryan was tragically killed while on his bike at the intersection of Queen and Gladstone, when the driver of a right-turning truck failed to see him as he turned north on to Gladstone.
The Carriere family lawyer, J. Patrick Brown, wrote a poignant and pointed letter to the City, which I have included below.
Brown told me that although the allegation against the driver in this case is making an improper right-hand turn, that most “certainly, side guards would have prevented Ryan from being sucked under the truck and, hopefully, would have prevented his death.”
Brown then reminds me that 1998 Coroner’s Report recommended Transport Canada investigate the feasibility of requiring side guards for large trucks. A subsequent petition and motion to this regard came from the office of NDP MP Olivia Chow. The federal government’s dismissive response to the motion can be seen here: pages 1 and 2. More information on truck side guards can be found here in a previous post about another cyclist’s death.
This Works Committee decision document from June 2006 shows that the issue was forwarded for a further report and a request. See the bottom of page 10 through to the top of 12 for the details. A letter to the Works committee, now the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee might help to push this issue back onto Council’s agenda.
Here is the text of Brown’s letter dated October 16, 2007, to the Mayor; Councillors Perks, Heaps, Pantalone, Vaughan, Giambrone, and Daniel Egan, the City’s Manager of Pedestrian and Cycling Infrastructure in Transportation Services:
Dear Mayor Miller, Councillors and Mr. Egan:
Re: Bike Plan & Public Works and Infrastructure agenda item 9.21 3(c)
I am a personal injury lawyer and represent the family of the late Ryan Carriere.
Ryan was a loving and devoted husband and an amazing father to his two young children. He was also a valued member of his community. Ryan prided himself on protecting the environment and was a proactive silent advocate by cycling to and from work. Ryan was tragically killed on his bike at the intersection of Queen and Gladstone. The second anniversary of Ryan’s death is this Halloween.
In addition to this extremely tragic accident, I am seeing more and more alarming accidents caused to cyclist by motorists on the streets of Toronto, and in particular Queen Street. These accidents to cyclists will leave some with life long disabilities. As well, the present law in Ontario restricts and limits compensation to many of these individuals.
The need for a greener and safer Toronto is paramount. A number of citizen cyclists have become exasperated with non-action by the City and have advocated for a bike lane on Queen Street, only to have the City remove their efforts.
The study proposed in the Public Works and Infrastructure agenda item 9.21 3(c) approved by the committee on October 3 is welcome, but there is a real need for expanding the scope of this study to include the provision of safe east-west cycling routes in the lower core of western Toronto west of Bathurst St.
In my profession, I see the end results of the failure of ensuring cyclists are provided a safe route. As an international City, we should be making every effort to promote cycling. I am certain that you share that commitment. Promotion requires safe and user friendly cycling routes. With these in place, the City will see less and less injury and death befalling those who are making an effort for a cleaner, better Toronto. Please give this request your serious concern and consideration as you move forward in your deliberations on safe biking routes.
Yours very truly,
McLEISH ORLANDO LLP
J. Patrick Brown
You can see agenda item 9.21(3) here under the October 3rd “Decisions” link. It refers to the City’s recent decision to look into building a Bloor-Danforth bike route. The Toronto Star recently wrote about it here.
Brown (too) easily lists off recent accidents he is aware of in which cyclists have been seriously injured in collisions with motor vehicles on Queen Street. He says he is seeing more and more cyclists injured especially in east-west corridors.
“There is a gaping hole in the bike plan for the east-west corridors in the city core and forcing people to the lake is not the answer,” he says.
It’s quite simple he says, “Less cars in the core means less accidents. Less accidents means less of a burden on our health care system. A more active population translates into less health care costs. It doesn’t make sense to me why the City couldn’t pump more money into safe, friendly bike lanes in the core.”
The Mayor’s office received the letter on October 18 and has not yet drafted a final response, but did express deep condolences. The letter will be from the Mayor and will copy those who received the original.
Photo courtesy of NOW magazine