Yet Another Cyclist Rant

I’ve been biking heavily in Toronto for over 2 years now on two different bikes. Luckily enough, the only time I’ve actually been injured and not just frightened witless, was recently and due to the unlucky combination of bicycle tires and dusty streetcar tracks.

A few weeks ago, in the most unfortunate locale of Dundas and Sherbourne, I took quite a spill which left me crumpled, embarrassed, bleeding and scuffed up. Luckily I was riding with my boyfriend who hoisted not only my bike off of me, but me off of the road as I was in the way of quite aggressive Dundas traffic. (Not to mention the sketchy looking dudes who were playing a game of knifey-stabby while I was still brushing the gravel from my wounds.)

Now this was just two weeks ago and I was rather lucky in that all I have to show for it is some healing wounds and a bruised left elbow (not broken, although I did have a tetanus shot and an x-ray just to be safe.) But other than a heightened distaste for crossing streetcar tracks at less than 90 degree angles, I was unharmed.

Unfortunately, this is to say nothing of the dangers that Toronto drivers inflict on me daily.

Yesterday marked the day where I was caught in an aggressive-parking/right hand turning snafu by not one, but TWO drivers in a mere 6 hour time-span. Both were overly aggressive drivers attempting to make a speedy right into a parking spot on College street, without signaling, and basically flinging me directly into the path of their wheels and the parked cars beside me, while the other was an Ambassador Taxi who decided to take an impromptu right turn to avoid Bloor Street traffic.

Similarities in both these incidents? I yelled to let them know they were endangering me, and had BOTH of them yell back at me. I’ve had these situations occur where I am in somebody’s blind spot and they turn, and once I scream at them they frantically hit the brakes/wave me off/look completely stricken, but these two were nothing like that. They both KNEW I was there. I was shocked the first time it happened yesterday, (right in front of a cop car dont’cha know) but then stricken the second time it happened that day.

This is all coming off of the tail of a debate in the National Post about cyclists on the roads which can be followed first here then followed up here and here all of which, I think, fail to address the major issue is that while cyclists follow rules or not (in both these instances, there was nothing I could have been doing in ANY WAY that would not have been following the letter of the law) many drivers do NOT respect us, or our lives, on the roads. This frustrates me and aggravates me and leaves me bitter on my commute now to work, across the same strip of Bloor street I almost got mangled on yesterday.

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