Cyclist posts video of close call with driver he accuses of being 'road-ragey'
Driver tells CBC Toronto a parked car was to blame and denies being overly aggressive
A cyclist who says a driver nearly killed him Thursday on Danforth Avenue during the evening rush hour has posted a video of the altercation on social media to raise awareness of the dangers of cycling — but the driver involved has told CBC Toronto it was the cyclist who was too aggressive.
"A lot of people have died on their bikes this summer and this year, and it's just not acceptable to drive like that," said Dimiter Todorov. "It makes me angry, because I have every right to be on the street as other people. He wouldn't ram another car off the road. Why would you ram me off the road?"
Todorov, 32, says he started strapping cameras to his handlebars and saddle after an accident two months ago. He says a car cut him off and his bike was damaged but he had no evidence of it.
This time, he gave his video evidence to police when he filed a report Thursday night and says he wanted to share it to show what a close call the incident was.
"Another maybe foot and I could have been dead," he said.
"He just came up quite fast and I guess he came up close enough to me that my handlebar hit his mirror," Todorov said describing the video.
"I twisted around to see what's happened and I kept my balance and kept going and then he tries to run me off again. The first one you could say was an accident. The second one was road-ragey."
Assault with a weapon, lawyer says
Todorov posted about it on a cyclist's Facebook page. One poster described that part of the Danforth as a "war zone" because of how dangerous it is for cyclists without a separated bike lane.
A Toronto lawyer who represents cyclists and their families says what's shown in the video qualifies as assault with a weapon.
"What I'm seeing [in the video] is a vehicle that is ... not only violating the one-metre law, but actually is intentionally using his vehicle as a weapon," said Patrick Brown of Bike Law Canada.
In Toronto, it is a ticketable offence for a car to be closer than one metre to a bike. Brown thinks at most this driver could get a ticket, but he doubts there will be charges.
"I think our society has given an attitude that if you're in a car you get some sort of special status," Brown said..
Driver accuses cyclist of being too aggresive
CBC Toronto tracked the driver down from his license plate, but isn't revealing his identity because some people have threatened retaliation on social media.
The driver says a car illegally parked on Danforth Avenue during rush hour at the time of the incident was to blame.
"Where is the cyclist supposed to go when you have to share the same width of laneway with the bicyclist, the parked car and a car? How does that work?" he said.
The driver also said it was the cyclist who was being too aggressive. In the video, following the incident you can see Todorov and another unknown cyclist stopping the driver in the street and yelling at the driver.
"He literally punched my vehicle almost to the point of smashing my window and then he physically takes [his] bicycle and puts it in front of my vehicle," the driver said.
But Todorov says he was never physically violent with the driver and his actions were more than justified.
"I don't feel that I was aggressive. I was trying to make my point that ... you can't drive like that," he said.
"I kind of let the video speak for itself," Todorov said.
"There's never any reason why you should pass on the right in rush hour when there are parked cars and people turning right. You're going to save maybe a couple seconds but you almost killed me. There's no excuse."
The driver and the cyclist agree on one thing: more separated bike lanes are needed in Toronto to prevent this sort of altercation.