The east end: home to councillors De Baeremaeker, Heaps, Fletcher, Bussin et al, and no longer home to the latest two cyclists killed in this city of 2.5 million.
A few days ago it was a little girl, run down and killed while pedaling in front of a stopped car in a crosswalk near Warden and Sheppard avenues. And now yesterday, a cyclist was killed on Pharmacy Ave, the victim of a truck traveling south in the northbound lanes.
People will blather about helmets, but perhaps the critical question is about blinders:
click for larger image
those on the heads of our so-called “cycling champions” at city hall. We’re talking about Councillor Heaps, the erstwhile leader of the city cycling committee, who has yet to call a meeting since his appointment after last October’s election. We’re talking about Councillor De Baeremaeker, profiled in the Toronto Star and Car Advertiser as a hero for cycling to work at city hall although terrified of taking Eglinton Ave E. in his ward (where there’s a “diamond lane” reserved for carpoolers, buses and cyclists, and just beyond where a cyclist was killed during last year’s election campaign). And we’re talking about Councillor Fletcher, a “big supporter” of the environment and of cyclist issues, who together with her ward neighbour Councillor Bussin, deputy mayor, has yet to define just why a critical two-block stretch of Leslie street in her ward (which links residential neighbourhoods to the north to the Leslie Street Spit, one of the most-used car-free infrastructures in the city) is not on the table for immediate creation of bikelanes. This part of Leslie street, of course, was the site of another cyclist fatality, where a truck hit cyclist Isaac Morkel head-on as Morkel was riding through a green light south to do some shopping at the Loblaw’s and PriceChopper grocery stores. It carries fewer cars at rush hour than many other four-lane streets in Toronto where two car lanes have been removed to provide bikelanes.
Two cyclists in the space of less than a week, dead by motor traffic in Toronto’s East End. Who’s looking out for us? Councillor Case Odious with your twenty-vote margin of victory, there’s a vacuum to be filled.