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Driver finally charged after running cyclist off road, fleeing scene

Assault was caught on camera and submitted to police

Toronto cyclist is run over by motorist Photo by: David Shellnutt

A Toronto motorist has been charged after running a cyclist off the road. According to David Shellnutt, also known as The Biking Lawyer, on January 21, the rider was targeted by a motorist, first with homophobic slurs and then run off the road on Bathurst Street. The cyclist crashed, sustaining a head injury as a result. Shellnutt explains that the incident was captured on video, a copy of which was submitted to police.

There was also someone on the scene who managed to log the license plate of the driver and relay that onto the police.

Initially, the driver was only charged with “not allowing you to have the lane,” in accordance with section 147 of the Highway Traffic Act.” Shellnutt believed that the driver should have criminal charges.

On Monday, however, the Toronto lawyer tweeted that the motorist had finally been charged. “We’re thankful to report that last week a Toronto Police Services detective we’ve worked with on other vehicular assault cases took over the investigation and has now rightfully recommended several Criminal Code charges against the motorist who fled the scene.”

The charges follow the approval of a pilot project in midtown Toronto in which many motorists were fighting to have cancelled. Bike lanes on Yonge street were intended to protect cyclists from traffic.  After heated debate between both sides, the infrastructure was made permanent. Cyclists in the city hope that initiatives like the ActiveTO Midtown Complete Street Pilot will help keep vulnerable road users safe.

The group launched a petition to make the lanes permanent, with almost 9,000 signatures. Yonge4All said that the project follows the proven success of other complete street makeovers in the city. Those lanes helped with Toronto’s climate goals, by encouraging low carbon modes of travel like walking, biking and taking transit.