Toronto roads can be dangerous for everyone alike. Motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists are all threatened by the busy downtown core, particularly with wintry conditions beginning to set in. A Toronto cyclist being hit by a car door on Danforth Avenue was caught on camera and it's re-sparked the furious debate about bike safety in the car-heavy city.
In the video that was shared on Twitter, a mess of cars, cyclists, and pedestrians can be seen on the Danforth. A white, four-door car is barely pulled over to the curb. As a row of cyclists slowly cruises past between the car and the curb, a passenger-side door opens and hits a woman on her bike.
The female cyclist screams — thankfully, it seems, in alarm rather than pain. She then slams the door shut, evidently shocked from what had just occurred. It's not clear as to what was said, but no doubt was she angry, and with reason.
Lanrick Bennett Jr., who recorded the video, says the cyclist was a little banged up but ok.
"On Danforth Avenue from Jones Avenue to Broadview Avenue, I saw two doorings and probably a dozen near misses of cyclists and pedestrians," says Bennett Jr. in a tweet.
Bennett Jr., a cycling safety advocate, tells Narcity: "I've been taking pictures and video of the commuting we do on Danforth Avenue for the last few years, hoping to give more visual proof that yesm we can have protected bike lanes that don't interfere with parking or through traffic going east and west."
Stressing that the safety of his kids is at risk with no proper bike lanes, Bennett Jr. adds: "My councillor is aware, the trustee is aware, the MPP as well, that painted lines don't protect anyone. The Danforth is the wild west. It's cycling infrastructure that is going to make a difference."
There have been issues with Uber drivers in the past, blocking bike lanes in the city and cyclists and cycling advocates are sick of it.
The timing of this incident was particularly poignant. With the increasingly wintry weather making driving harder and more dangerous, the City and Toronto Police have made efforts to crack down on bad driving.
Even more timely is the fact Danforth-area residents are meeting on Thursday night to discuss safety.
The meeting, at Monarch Park Collegiate, will discuss the Danforth "Complete Streets" study. The city is conducting this study until June 2021, focusing on transportation services, economic development, and planning.
The aim? To consider business and mobility needs and the long-term planning goals for the Danforth, including the installation of a bike lane pilot so that any problem areas can be studied.
It is important, especially as worse weather sets in, that drivers, cyclists, pedestrians, and everyone who is sharing the streets stays aware of their surroundings. The weather isn't likely to get better than this any time soon, after all.
Narcity has reached out to the City of Toronto and Toronto-Danforth Councillor Paula Fletcher for comment.