Cycling deaths underscore need for more bike lanes, not less
It never takes long for another story about a cyclist killed in a traffic accident to make the news.
And it every time it happens, I shake my head about the war on the bicycle waged by city hall, most prominently with the removal of the Jarvis St. cycling lanes two weeks ago.
The latest victim, Tom Samson, 35, a Grade 2 teacher, was riding to work at 6.30 a.m. Friday when he was struck by a minivan at Davenport and Lansdowne and thrown into the path of another vehicle.
The driver that struck him fled the scene, leaving his wife to raise two young children without a dad.
It makes me think about the vile comments posted to The Star’s online stories about the feeble protests of a few cyclists when workers arrived to erase the Jarvis lanes, and the hubris of drivers who saw it as cause for celebration.
There was the guy who referred to it as “Drivers 1, Lice 0,” or the reader who said that when a cyclist sat down on Jarvis and refused to move, it reinforced his decision to park in bike lanes and impede cyclists in any way possible.
I wonder what they’d say about Samson? Did he deserve it for getting in the way? Is it a lesson to other cyclists to stay off the road, or be squashed like, uh, lice?
We were on the right track as a city with the creation of bike lanes on busy streets such as Jarvis, which not only creates a dedicated space that makes cycling safer, but helps in the reshaping of drivers' attitudes towards and tolerance for cyclists.
I do a lot more driving than cycling, and can tell you for sure that after a short adjustment period, I have never felt inconvenienced by bike lanes, and now accept them as part of the larger road infrastructure.
I think it’s the same for a lot of other drivers, which is why it is a huge step backwards to undo the Jarvis lanes at a time when the city should be vigorously investing in expanding them.
I hope the drivers who fist-pump over the reclamation of the fifth traffic lane on Jarvis give some thought to the real costs. But I doubt it.