Toronto teacher killed in cycling accident
The man killed in a cycling collision early Friday morning has been identified as a Grade 2 teacher at Toronto's Swansea Public School.
Tom Samson died after his bicycle collided with two vehicles at the intersection of Lansdowne Avenue and Davenport Road.
"Our students and staff are understandably upset by what happened," said a note to the school community from principal Karen Ridley. "Tom taught Grade 2 and has been a caring and valued member of our team for 8 years."
Ridley said counsellors will be at the school to help staff and students deal with the tragedy.
Samson "will be remembered as a dedicated staff member who, over the years, made so many strong connections with those he encountered. Tom will be missed greatly by our entire school community," Ridley wrote.
Samson, 35, died when he was involved in the collision just after 6:30 a.m.
He was rushed to St. Michael's hospital where he died of his injuries.
Police say they are looking for a red or burgundy Chrysler minivan that left the scene and will have extensive damage to its front end on the driver's side. The van may be a 1996 to 2000 model year.
After the collision with the red van, Samson then struck a white van, which remained at the scene.
Cyclist Mark Woodnutt stopped at the intersection a few hours after the collision as police continued to investigate.
"It hits close to home because myself and so many people I know are cyclists," he told CBC. "It could have been any one of my friends."
Cyclist Peter Warren rides through the intersection often and said he was injured at the same spot a few years ago. Warren said he was lucky to have suffered only a bruised shoulder after his bike was T-boned by a driver who was not charged but who did pay for damage to his bike.
"It broke a high-quality helmet in three places," he said.
Warren also said the fatality won't improve the sometimes strained relations between Toronto drivers and cyclists.
"We don't need this right now. There's a lot of animosity," he said.
Woodnutt said the incident highlights the need to add more bike lanes.
"We need more infrastructure for cyclists in this city," he said. "It's unfortunate the city [is] moving backwards," he added, referring to the recent decision to remove the bike lanes on Jarvis Street.
The Toronto group Advocacy For Respect For Cyclists plans to hold a memorial on Nov. 30.