As It Happens

'Looks like another dead cyclist': Torontonian says he was yelled at and followed by driver

Colin Powell says he's filed a police report after a motorist tailed him down a narrow alleyway making threatening remarks.

Alleged threat comes amid spate of cyclist fatalities in the city

Colin Powell says a man yelled, 'Looks like another dead cyclist at him' in an alley on Thursday. (Lauren Pelley/CBC News)

A Toronto cyclist says a driver followed him down a narrow alleyway on Thursday, blaring his horn and yelling, "Looks like another dead cyclist."

Colin Powell said he was approaching the alley near the city's Little Italy nieghbourhood when a car came up behind him and the driver started honking and screaming at him to get out of the way.

"There's no space to move. There's definitely not space for a bike and a car to be next to each other," Powell told As It Happens host Carol Off.

"He was trying to get me to go another way and just kept on the horn, so he was not lifting his hand off the horn, which obviously made me very rattled."

That's when Powell said the man rolled down his window and shouted the message at him.

"I took it as a physical threat," he said. "So I stopped my bike, and I'm, like, shaking, and he is turning into his garage."

A deadly year for cyclists

The alleged incident comes amid a spate of cyclist and pedestrian deaths in Toronto. 

On Monday, a 50-year-old woman was walking near Briar Hill Avenue and Dufferin Street when she was struck and killed in a hit-and-run. 

The following day, 58-year-old Dalia Chako died after colliding with a flatbed truck while cycling near the University of Toronto. 

A 36-year-old man who was struck by a car on May 15 died in hospital on June 7. Two days later, 19-year-old Aaron Rankine-Wright, was struck by an SUV and then stabbed

A crumpled bike belonging to Dalia Chako, 58, who died after being hit by a flatbed truck while cycling in the Bloor Street bike lane near St. George Street. (TPS Traffic Operations/Twitter)

In response to the deaths, Toronto Mayor John Tory on Friday announced a $13-million boost to Vision Zero, the city's five-year plan to reduce traffic-related fatalities. 

"You can feel there's kind of something happening in this city," Powell said. "It makes you more fearful of getting on the road." 

'No one should think this kind of thing is OK'

Powell said he reported the Thursday incident to police.

Toronto Police Service's 14 Division would not confirm whether a report had been filed, citing privacy concerns. 

Toronto Coun. Mike Layton told As It Happens he plans to follow up with the police on Powell's file. 

"This is a police matter and it's not our job to tell the police how to do their jobs. But an act like that — a threat like that — needs to be followed up on," he said.

"People need to know they can't get away with something like this. When you're in a car and someone else is on a bike, the car is like a weapon. 

"No one should think this kind of thing is OK."

Written by Sheena Goodyear. Interview produced by Chloe Shantz-Hilkes.