This Toronto cyclist looks for answers following collision caught on his helmet camera
The city 'does not have a track record of caring about what happens to cyclists,' Michael Hoye says
A Toronto cyclist is looking for answers following a collision caught on video that left him careening over the hood of a passing car.
The incident, at the corner of Queen Street East and Carlaw Avenue in Leslieville, was caught on Michael Hoye's helmet camera. He put it online soon afterward.
The video, viewed more than 8,000 times, shows a vehicle heading westbound on Queen Street East, making a sudden and illegal U-turn into the eastbound lane, and striking Hoye's bicycle, sending him flying over the hood of the vehicle.
"I was lucky. I went over the hood instead of going under the wheels," said Hoye.
Hoye says the driver gave him a fake phone number and left.
He calls the incident "a shock," but says it's a typical commuting experience in Toronto.
The city "does not have a track record of caring about what happens to cyclists," he said.
"Everything is a little bit terrifying, and if you're not willing to surf on top of that — well, then you're not out here on a bike."
Systemic difficulties in reporting cycling incidents
Shortly afterward, Hoye called police.
He says they told him the incident likely wouldn't qualify as a hit and run, because he didn't need immediate medical attention. Instead, he was told to call the police general inquiries line, which referred him to one of Toronto's collision reporting centres.
As of today, about four weeks later, I've confirmed that they've never contacted that witness, and at this point I have very little expectation of followup, because Toronto.—@mhoye
But there are only two in the city — one in Scarborough, the other in North York. Both far away from the site of the collision.
"So, if a bike is your main mode of transportation, it's an hour and a half to just get there," said a frustrated Hoye.
In spite of that, he decided to follow through. After arriving at one of the centres later that evening, he was told bicycles weren't even included in the collision centre systems.
Once I got through, it was told that the police would not be coming at all. But if I want to report it, I could bring my bike to the Collision Reporting Center in Scarborough.—@mhoye
Given he'd provided authorities with a video of the incident, a witness at the scene who was willing to speak with police, and a picture of the license plate, Hoye had expected the process to be much more efficient.
But now, a month later, he says he still hasn't heard anything back
'We're failing' at protecting cyclists and pedestrians, Matlow says
In spite of the city's $80-million Vision Zero plan, which is aimed at putting an end to the deaths on Toronto roads, 21 cyclists and pedestrians have been killed so far in 2018.
Critics say the plan doesn't go far enough to redesign roadways, reduce speed limits and create a network of separated bike lanes.
Coun. Josh Matlow agrees that the city needs to do more.
"What we should be doing is admitting that we're failing. It's not suggesting that we're not trying, but it's admitting that what we're doing isn't doing the job."
Matlow says police need to do more as well.
"There's been virtually no action in ensuring that there is sufficient police enforcement on our streets. 53 Division only has two traffic cops, it's just not doing the job," he told CBC Toronto.
Chief Mark Saunders says he'd like to see police incorporate more technology to help prevent cycling and pedestrian injuries.
"When we utilize technology, pedestrian fatalities are reduced 20-25 per cent. We can saturate these areas with the proper technology" said Saunders.
For councillor Matlow, the most important thing is being honest with Toronto's cyclists.
"Rather than boasting about what a good job we've done, the sooner we admit it's failing, the sooner we can take the actions necessary to protect our public.
"Since we announced Vision Zero, deaths and serious injuries have gone up on our streets. That comes from data," he said.
Meantime, Hoye suggests the city make a meaningful effort to enforce its traffic laws and introduce separated bike lanes.
"I would like to have institutional change that results in citizens not dying in the road as often ... even if it costs us a couple of minutes of commute time, even if it means another two or three minutes to get to work."