The streets of Canada’s two biggest cities were the scene of deadly collisions between cyclists and trucks early this week. On Monday, a woman in her 30s was struck and killed by a dump truck in the Rosemont neighbourhood of Montreal. A day later on Tuesday, a similar situation played out in Toronto when a 58-year-old woman was struck and killed by a truck at the intersection of St. George St. and Bloor St. Both streets have bike lanes.

The collision in Montreal took place at the intersection of St. Zotique St. and 19th Ave. The intersection has a four-way stop, has a bike lane that is spaced to prevent dooring and the speed limit was recently reduced to 30 km/h, all in an effort to protect cyclists.

Despite the measures, police were called at 7:30 a.m. on Monday morning after a cyclist was run over by a dump truck. The victim’s body was so mangled it took the police several hours to identify the gender of the victim according to the Montreal Gazette.

According to police, the cyclist was riding straight on the bike path when a dump truck driven by a 52-year-old man attempted to make a right turn onto 19th ave. By the time parametics were on the scene the victim had no vital signs and was pronounced dead.

Details of the collision on Tuesday in Toronto are so far sparse but at 12 p.m. police were called to the intersection of St. George St. and Bloor St. as first reported by The Toronto Star. A 58-year-old woman had been struck by a flatbed truck. Bloor has a bike lane at this intersection. The victim was found with no vital signs and was pronounced dead at the scene.

“We continue to see trucks that are completely blind and to see truck drivers in dense areas without the training to make sure they won’t hit a cyclist,” said Magali Bebronne of Vélo Québec told the Gazette. Police continue to investigate both deadly collisions.

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2 Comments

  • Mario Andretti says:

    In my experience being a motorist in densely populated areas of the city is a challenge in general but especially at intersections. As a motorist with the biggest moving force on the road we have to be extra carefull in looking for other cars, pedestrians, skateboarders, rollerbladers and cyclists. Things happen very quickly at intersections and mistakes happen but I find cyclists seem to have an entitled sense of right of way and don’t leave room for the chance that they were not seen. It seems cyclists assume because of their momentum and a reserved bike lane that they should not have to stop. They ride right through intersections with or without reserved bike lanes. They don’t slow down and make eye contact with motorists as do other people who share the same roads. As a cyclist and motorist, I see both sides of the situation and the challenges that both cyclists and motorists face when sharing the roads. Therefore when cycling I give cars the right of way and allow for the chance that a driver HAS NOT SEEN me. I understsnd the blind spots that motorists experience and therefore I account for them as a cyclist and do not assume that I have the right of way or that they see me. I make eye contact with motorists before risking my life. Irregardless of who had the right of way, the motorist or the cyclist as a cyclist I am the only one who will pay the ultimate price with injury or death.
    As in nature the smaller weaker force should always be more cautious so as to avoid annihilation.

    In closing motorists need to take driving and road safety lessons and ultimately test their aquired knowledge, maybe the time has come for lessons and tests for cyclists to earn the privilidge of sharing the roads with everyone else. As it stands it is my impression that because any Jack or Jill can get on a bike and ride in reserved bike lanes, it seems to give them the impression that they are entitled. I feel with road safety lessons and tests for cyclists and ultimately the earning of a license, maybe the mentality will change and lives will be saved. That’s my 2 cents..

    • Nic says:

      I strongly disagree with your comment. Yes, most collisions can be avoidable if you cycle defensively, but most incidents are caused by driver error. Yes drivers have blindspots, but in driving school, you are taught how to continuously check those blind spots. Take my anecdotal stories with a grain of salt, but even with defensive cycling, I find that the top three driver errors that almost injure me are: drivers suddenly pulling out from park without signalling and/or checking blindspots; taking a blind left turn into a small street at an accelerated speed just because there’s space in opposing traffic, but they have no visibility of the bike lane and; accelerating to overtake me and then cutting me off with a sudden turn because god forbid they have to wait a few seconds for me to cross an intersection. For the latter, the driver had the audacity to tell me, “but I signalled”. Yes, he signalled, but he was behind me when he decided to floor it to try and beat me to the intersection.

      Cyclists don’t have to earn the PRIVILEGE to share the road. They are not operating 4,000lb vehicles that have killed 93 pedestrians in two years, and do more infrastructure and environmental damage than any other mode of transportation. But drivers have to remember that holding a license is a PRIVILEGE, not a right, and that owning a car is a luxury. The road is for motorists, e-bikers, public transit, long boarders, cyclists, rollerbladers etc., but drivers seem to think that the road was meant only for them and that everyone else is there because they (drivers) allow them to be. I have seen many entitled drivers, as much as cyclists, the difference is that reckless driving, more often than not, leads to long-term injury or death.

      As for lessons, tests and licensing… that’s tax money down the drain. The administration costs alone would run a deficit. On top of that, it’s hard to reinforce. It’s been tried and tested, and it failed in 1957.

      As the city becomes more dense, the government has to follow suite with other major cities such as New York, Oslo, Paris, Hamburg, Copenhagen, London (to name a few) in phasing out car use and building infrastructure that encourages sustainable means of transportation. This is not a “war on the car”, as you’ll hear some privileged drivers whine about. This is a fight for sustainability, safety and progress.

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