Survey: Should Drivers Who Give Out The Door Prize Be Charged?


Ron Bull, The Star

They erected another ghost bike in Toronto this morning, in memory of a 57 year old cyclist who got the door prize last week and fell in front of a cube van. The Highway Traffic act says that drivers opening the doors of parked vehicles are forbidden to do so "without first taking due precautions to ensure that his or her act will not interfere with the movement of or endanger any other person or vehicle," but the cops didn't charge the driver. According to Eye Weekly:

Sgt. Tim Burrows of the Toronto Police seemed inclined to err on the side of sympathizing with the driver. In the Post report, he described the Volvo driver as "shaken," and being in a state of "shock." He said it's difficult for a driver to see a cyclist even if they do look, and seemed to warn cyclists to take responsibility for their own safety. "If she didn't look, would that be negligence? It's very hard to label that as negligent."

Yvonne Bambrik of the Cyclists Union said the driver should be charged. "It has to set a precedent. You need to be looking. You need to do a full shoulder check," she told the National Post. "It's an accident, and I understand that, but there needs to be some kind of repercussion."

I think Yvonne is wrong about one thing; there is no such thing as an accident. There is stupidity, lack of care, lack of skill, lack of judgment, negligence, but it is never an accident.

Eye Magazine notes that "It may be unfair to single out Sgt. Burrows, since his comments represent the average person's approach to such things. Still, it is nearly impossible to imagine a similar reaction if the driver, rather than opening a car door without checking over her shoulder, had, say, made a left turn into traffic without looking and killed another driver, or had pulled out of a parking lot and killed a pedestrian on the sidewalk.

In the enforcement of our laws, as elsewhere, we face the persistent attitude that roads are for cars and cyclists are uninvited guests on them who should proceed at their own risk." ::Eye Weekly


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