Cyclists snarl traffic with bike courier vigil
Published Saturday, November 10, 2012 9:09AM EST
The death of a bicycle courier prompted a rolling protest on University Avenue Friday evening.
The 50 cyclists blocked southbound University at Richmond around 5 p.m., to make sure people knew about Mike Rankin. The 56-year-old veteran courier was struck by a taxi at the intersection Wednesday and died a few hours later from his injuries.
The Toronto Bike Messenger Association organized the vigil through their Facebook page.
"All friends and messengers (current and past) and cyclists will have a chance to remember this quiet, gentle soul that was taken away from us far too early," read a Thursday night post.
"Let's show our love for Mike and show Toronto that we all need to watch out for each other, regardless if you are a cyclist or driver or pedestrian."
If their message wasn't heard by drivers it was certainly felt. Traffic was clogged along University Avenue for about 60 minutes during rush hour.
During the vigil, cyclists laid candles and flowers at the corner and posted a flyer with Rankin's photograph to a tree along the avenue.
The cyclists’ anger grew after they learned that Rankin's backpack, broken and blood-stained helmet, and other belongings had been found in a garbage can next to where he had been struck.
Police retrieved the items and said they were looking into how the items ended up in the trash can.
"We’re just curious to know who put it there, why it’s there and why you guys didn't take it,” one cyclist asked a police officer at Friday’s vigil.
“We have no idea,” the officer replied.
“Well, how could you not know about it? There was blood all over it,” the cyclist shot back.
While Rankin was being mourned downtown, another cyclist was recovering in hospital after begin struck in Vaughan.
The 33-year old man was hit by a car near Weston road Friday afternoon. He was taken to St. Mike’s Hospital with life-threatening injuries.
The accident closed Rutherford road west of Weston for several hours.
With a report from CTV Toronto’s Ashley Rowe
A poster with an image of bike courier Mike Rankin.
Cyclists at the intersection of University Ave. and Richmond St.