Pickup truck driver plows onto sidewalk, nearly hitting mom and 4-year-old

A Scarborough family says Toronto must do more to protect pedestrians after a mother and her four-year-old wound up coming face-to-face with a pickup truck driver on the sidewalk outside their home.

'I freaked out,' says mother who has filed a complaint with Toronto police

The family's home security camera shows a Ford F-150 Raptor driving on a sidewalk in an apparent attempt to get around a left-turning car blocking traffic. (Daniel Yang/Submitted)

A Scarborough family says Toronto must do more to protect pedestrians after a mother and her four-year-old son encountered a pickup truck driving on the sidewalk in front of their home.

It happened on Clonmore Drive near the intersection of Warden Avenue and Danforth Avenue on Tuesday morning.

"It just happened so fast," said Lana Lelchuk, who was walking her son Oly to school on Tuesday morning.

A security camera captured the entire incident. Warning: the video contains some profanity.

A Ford pickup truck drives toward pedestrians on a sidewalk in Scarborough

3 years ago
Duration 0:30
Lana Luba Lelchuk and her son came face to face with a pickup truck driving on the sidewalk in front of her home.

Lelchuk, who works as a make-up artist for the CBC, said her son typically tries to run or bike ahead of her on the way to school. She kept him close at her side that morning, even before encountering the Ford F-150 Raptor driving on the sidewalk.

"Something inside of me just pulled him back," she told CBC Toronto. "I saw [the driver] revving over the ice bank right onto the sidewalk and I freaked out."

The incident is the second instance of a vehicle driving on a sidewalk near pedestrians captured on video this week.

Lelchuk's family moved to the neighbourhood in 2011 and say they've seen a marked increase in fast and aggressive driving in recent years. Police have done little to improve safety in their neighbourhood, they said.

"I don't see police patrolling, I don't see them ticketing, I don't see any sign of police after we've complained and called them and asked them to be around the neighbourhood," Lelchuk said.

So far in 2020, Lelchuk says she's witnessed at least three vehicles driving on the same sidewalk, which is located next to a merging lane that connects Warden Avenue to Clonmore Drive. The family says many drivers treat the merging lane as an "on-ramp" to their street, which has a posted speed limit of 40 km/h.

The driver of the Ford pickup truck appears to have pulled onto the sidewalk to get around a left-turning car that was blocking traffic on the two-lane road.

From left, Daniel Yang, Lana Lelchuk and their four-year-old son Oly outside their home near Danforth Avenue and Warden Avenue. (Nick Boisvert/CBC)

Lelchuk reported the incident to police, though traffic services could not confirm to CBC Toronto if the incident is being investigated.

Traffic services say the week's other sidewalk driving incident on Argyle Street near Ossington Avenue is being investigated by the local division. No charges have been laid.

Toronto to consider new safety measures next week

Six pedestrians have been killed by vehicles so far in 2020, while 39 were killed across Toronto in 2019.

Road safety advocates say that Toronto's Vision Zero initiative, which was introduced in 2017 with the goal of completely eliminating traffic-related deaths, appears to have had little success protecting pedestrians.

"We have a culture in this city that says that every square inch of our streets is the sole and exclusive use of a car," said David Simor, a senior project manager at 8 80 Cities.

Simor argues that Toronto has developed "a culture that no longer treats sidewalks as sacred," but instead as places to park delivery vehicles and, in some cases, for drivers to navigate around slow traffic.

However, Toronto is expected to take further steps to improve safety in the coming months.

Councillor James Pasternak wants police to assign more officers on traffic enforcement duties in a bid to reduce injuries and fatalities on Toronto roads. (Martin Trainor/CBC)

At the city's upcoming Infrastructure and Environment Committee meeting on March 11, city councillors will review several reports and motions designed to improve safety, including the installation of new red light cameras, a proposal to limit right turns on red lights at some intersections, and a four-kilometre expansion of Toronto's bike path network.

As part of Toronto's budget debate last month, city council also approved a motion asking Toronto police to employ "some" of its newly funded officers for traffic enforcement. However, the city cannot directly determine how police deploys its officers.

Coun. James Pasternak, who introduced the motion, said heightened enforcement is a critical aspect of the city's road safety plan.

"The introduction of major policy improvements and safety measures through Vision Zero and other programs helps keep Torontonians safe," wrote James Pasternak, councillor for Ward 6 York Centre and a leader of the Vision Zero project. 

"However, without enforcement many of these measures will not hit the goals we want."


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