Cyclists need to be licensed, says injured pedestrian
Emily Niedoba, injured after being hit by a 240-lb. cyclist in downtown Toronto, is considering civil action. She says cyclists should be licensed and be required to carry insurance. (RENE JOHNSTON/TORONTO STAR)
For Emily Niedoba, June 5 is pretty much a blank slate — she has no memory of being mowed down around noon by a 240-lb. cyclist who ran a red light at Yonge St. and Rosehill Ave.
“I don’t remember anything about getting hit — my last memory was being back at the gym having a shower,’’ she says.
Not only is the fine for a cyclist running a red light “completely inadequate,’’ she says there is a need for regulating bikers.
What she would like to see are changes requiring all cyclists over the age of 16 to be licensed and carry insurance.
“They are travelling with velocity — they have the potential to cause a lot of damage,’’ says Niedoba who is considering a civil suit against the cyclist.
Police investigators have pieced together what happened and told her that the male cyclist came over to see how she was after he hit her.
“They said he was afraid he’d broken my neck — there was a lot of blood,’’ said Niedoba, who was taken from the scene by ambulance to Sunnybrook Hospital where she spent four days, including two days in the intensive care unit, being treated for a severe concussion, subdural hematoma, extensive facial bruising and swelling, injury to her left eye and a badly separated shoulder.
She is getting outpatient treatment at the neurotrauma clinic at Sunnybrook and has an August appointment at Sunnybrook’s brain injury clinic. The extent of injury to her eye is still under investigation and she is getting physiotherapy for her shoulder which will never be “completely normal again.’’
“Nobody, or their family, should have to go through this or die,’’ she says. Running a red light “is completely preventable . . . there’s enough violence in the world. We really shouldn’t be causing more damage and trauma to each other.’’
Talking about what happened is still emotionally difficult, says Niedoba, an actress and a producer with Urban Jungle Theatre who had started a job as a casting researcher for a television production company just before the accident. She went through a period of extreme depression for about a month after being hit “which I’m told is common with brain injuries,’’ she says. Her anxiety level has risen considerably.
What’s worse, this is the second time she has been hit by a cyclist who went through a red light. Last fall, she was crossing a street in Yorkville and was knocked to the ground, right near where some paramedics happened to be having a coffee. Niedoba couldn’t get up and they rushed over to help. The cyclist had stopped to see how she was.
“The paramedics put me on a backboard to take me to hospital and one of them said to him, ‘You have to stay around.’ ’’ At that point the cyclist ran and took off on his bike, says Niedoba, who suffered contusions and severe whiplash.
“It is an incredible strain of bad luck to be hit by two cyclists at locations a short distance apart within an eight-month period,’’ says Niedoba. “It definitely says something about our city.’’
— Valerie Hauch, Staff Reporter