Cyclists want unused streetcar tracks torn up after fatal crash
Published Tuesday, August 7, 2012 2:09PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, August 7, 2012 6:53PM EDT
Toronto’s cycling community is demanding the city tear up unused streetcar tracks after a rider crashed and died after getting his wheel caught in a stretch of track in midtown Toronto.
The incident occurred when a 41-year-old man tried to turn from St. Clair Avenue onto Wychwood Avenue, Monday evening. Police say his bike tire got caught in the streetcar track and he fell to the road.
The unidentified man, who was not wearing a helmet and was carrying a grocery bag on his handlebars, struck his head on the ground and died at the scene.
The man was not carrying identification, and police are asking anyone who saw the accident, or anyone who might know the man, to come forward.
The tracks that the man's tire got trapped in are no longer used by streetcars, Cycle Toronto said on Tuesday, and the group has demanded to know why the city has not removed them from the street.
The streetcar tracks turned onto the quiet stretch of Wychwood Avenue, near Christie Street, have not been used by the Toronto Transit Commission since 1978, adding unnecessary danger for the city’s cyclists.
Cycle Toronto, formerly known as the Toronto Cyclist Union, has asked the city to launch a complete study on the hazards posed by streetcar tracks.
“Streetcar tracks are a significant hazard for cyclists,” spokesman Jared Kolb said in a statement. “We’ve got to recognize this and get the conversation going on the short and long-term solutions to make the streets safer for everyone.”
The group has asked the city to:
- Identify particularly dangerous intersections and crossings
- Use lane markings ,to guide cyclists through challenging intersections
- Post signs educating cyclists on how to best cross streetcar tracks
- Remove derelict streetcar tracks such as those on Wychwood Avenue
Residents also told CTV Toronto that they would like to see the tracks removed, since this is not the first time a cyclist has fallen on them.
“I called 911 two weeks ago. I called 911 six weeks ago. Yes, people fall all the time,” said local store owner Leah Kalish.
Coun. Joe Mihevc, who represents the ward where the fatal accident took place, said he also wants the tracks removed, but it won’t be done until the road comes up for its scheduled resurfacing.
One resident was told by Mihevc’s office that the tracks could not just be covered over by asphalt, because that would require frequent touch ups and resurfacing.
Though, Mihevc told CTV News on Tuesday that covering the tracks in asphalt may be an option, after all, and that removing the tracks is a top priority.
With files from CTV Toronto’s John Musselman