‘Life-changing injuries’: Toronto cyclist caught up in ‘terrifying’ Lake Shore crash

Bicycling advocates denounce the city’s unsafe streets after a bicyclist suffered “life-changing injuries” after being hit while cycling on Toronto’s waterfront over the weekend.

Police said the bicyclist was hit by a motorist heading east on Lake Shore Boulevard West shortly after 7 a.m. Saturday. The driver lost control, climbed the curb, crossed a grass fence, drove over the Martin Goodman Trial and crashed into a metal guardrail on Oarsman Drive at the Argonaut Rowing Club.

The cyclist was taken to a trauma center with “life-changing injuries,” police said. The driver remained at the scene after the accident 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’s nothing to keep you safe.”

At the accident site, the three lanes of Lake Shore Boulevard are separated from the Martin Goodman Trail by a sidewalk and grass median. At Oarsman Drive, there is no physical barrier between traffic and the trial; the metal guardrail protecting Oarsman Drive remained broken and twisted Monday.

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

Melissa Kulik, spokesperson for the Toronto Police Service, said charges have been filed under the Highway Traffic Act, but “no further details can be given.” The Toronto Police Service typically does not identify charges from drivers with non-criminal traffic violations.

Police have not said exactly where the cyclist was driving when he was hit.

In 2015, Spieker also suffered “life-changing injuries” after being hit by a driver on her bicycle. Her spine was broken; she suffered a brain injury.

“It has diminished every part of my life,” she said. β€œIt’s frustrating to see this latest crash because it’s a pattern. Our leaders don’t care enough. They would rather maximize vehicles than human lives.”

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

“This is essentially a road design problem because someone shouldn’t have been driving at that speed to climb a metal curb and hit someone who was cycling,” she said. “Even if they might have been distracted.”

If the penalties were stricter, motorists would be more careful on the road and cyclists would feel safer, adds Jun Nogami of Advocacy for Respect for Cyclists. “Normally, drivers just get a slap on the wrist,” he added.

Attorney David Shellnutt stressed that cyclists may not know there are benefits to assisting if they are hit by a driver. Ontario’s No-Fault Accident Benefit begins immediately after a cyclist is injured, helping to pay for lost wages and medical rehabilitation benefits, said Shellnutt, founder of the Biking Lawyer LLP.

An important step is to report every accident, as the more police reports and accidents are documented, the more actionable progress can be made, he added.

“Seek medical help and get the authorities there.”

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


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