Death of T.O. bike courier sparks demonstration
Hundreds of Torontonians gathered Wednesday at the site of where bike courier Allan Sheppard died, to remember his life and call for better protection for cyclists on the city's congested downtown streets.
A large crowd formed around 5 p.m. Wednesday and moved down Bloor Street towards University Avenue, where they held a moment of silence.
"It's going to be a memorial service every day of our lives," said one bike courier, who told CTV Toronto he had known Sheppard for years. "Every time we go to pick up a package, we're going to think of him."
Sheppard died Monday after he was dragged along a stretch of Bloor Street West while clinging to the car of former Ontario attorney general Michael Bryant, who has been charged with criminal negligence.
"I've knew Al for almost a year, because I was a new courier," said another friend of Sheppard. "And he taught me how to ride a bike, the shortcuts, everything. He was a funny guy; he always made jokes."
Long stretches of Bloor near Jarvis have been under construction for months. Sheppard died near an area where four lanes had been cut to just two. There were also no bike lanes.
The city is currently looking into ways to better accommodate cyclists in the area, but one activist claimed there is little incentive for action.
"Unfortunately, the city's revenue is in parking, so they're really reticent to put in bike lanes," he said. "Maybe if there were bike lanes, this never would have happened."
At one point during the memorial service on Wednesday, some cyclists unravelled a fake bike lane, with a thick white lane running a couple metres from the sidewalk.
Bike safety campaign
Meanwhile, Toronto police officers will be out at Broadview Avenue and Danforth Avenue in 54 Division to promote safe cycling. They will hand out pamphlets to passing cyclists.
"The Toronto Police Service reminds motorists of the dangers of opening car doors in the path of cyclists, and the importance of checking blind spots prior to making right turns," police said Wednesday in a news release.
While the death of Sheppard has grabbed the headlines, at least three other cyclists have been injured so far this week.
On Tuesday, a driver opened a door while parked on McCaul Street downtown. A cyclist swerved to avoid the door, but got struck by a vehicle behind her. She was taken to hospital with serious injuries.
A 66-year-old man cycling southbound on Spadina Avenue made a left turn against a red U-turn signal. As he did so, a southbound TTC streetcar struck the cyclist. He was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries.
In another collision, a car struck a Scarborough cyclist. His injuries were not serious.
With a report by CTV Toronto's Galit Solomon