A day for remembering

P1010516

by Tammy Thorne
photos by Martin Reis

A day for remembering:

Anniversary of the death cyclist Ryan Carriere

In 2007, I wrote a blog post for Spacing called, A day for remembering on the second anniversary of the death of cyclist Ryan Carriere.

Ryan was killed six years ago today while on his bike by a right-turning truck at the intersection of Queen and Gladstone. That was the first time I interviewed the lawyer for the Carriere family, Patrick Brown.

More recently, Brown and lawyer Albert Koehl, along with a coalition of cycling organizations and seniors' groups have succeeded in compelling Ontario's chief coroner to study cycling deaths from 2006-2010. The report will be completed in the spring of 2012.

In my blog post about Ryan's death I mentioned NDP MP Olivia Chow's private members bill to mandate truck side guards, which we again followed up on in our summer 2009 issue of dandyhorse.

Side guards fill the gap between a truck's rear axels, effectively deflecting more vulnerable road users away from the truck in the event of collision, rather than dragging them under.

The effort to Federally mandate truck side guards has gained some traction and is now called The Jessica Campaign. Read more here (PDF).

We praise the work of everyone involved in making cycling safer in our province, including the Share the Road Coalition and of course the Toronto Cyclists Union. The bike union applauds and supports the new coroner's inquest.

We would also like to remember Jack Layton on this day and all he did to improve the safety of cyclists in this city.

P1090647 Jack Layton Cycles

But, as Jack would say: there's still much to be done!

The province-wide coroner's study, announced one week ago today, will seek common factors in the incidents in order to make recommendations in the spring of 2012 to help prevent future deaths. Coroner's inquests do not make judicial findings.

When long-time dandyhorse contributors and supporters, Albert Koehl and Patrick Brown, along with Marie Smith on behalf of the United Senior Citizens of Ontario, wrote an opinion piece in the Toronto Star in August urging the chief coroner to look into cycling and pedestrian deaths -- he took notice.

A similar coroner's review of 38 cycling deaths in the city of Toronto over an 11-year period was completed in 1998. That review led to a number of cycling initiatives, like the bike plan and the creation of the cycling advisory committee, which was disbanded earlier this year -- as well as a recommendation for truck side guards.

There are more cyclists on the road now than ever before. Recent studies have shown that 60 per cent of Ontarians would cycle more but are afraid to do so.

Interested parties are encouraged to provide feedback for the inquest (details below).

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Comments and recommendations can be sent to Dr. Cass and the review panel before Nov. 30, 2011 by writing occo.inquiries @ ontario.ca or at the following mailing address: Dr. Dan Cass, Office of the Chief Coroner, 26 Grenville Street, Toronto, ON, M7A 2G7.

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