Four years ago TreeHugger covered the story of Toronto cyclist Chris Kasztelewicz, who lost his leg when a taxi driver purposely reversed into him, crushing him between the cab and a lamp post. Now, finally, there is an outcome: the driver has been found guilty of criminal negligence causing bodily harm and failing to remain at the scene. But he got off of the most serious charge:
Then it gets strange, as the judge lets him off the most serious charges of aggravated assault and assault with a weapon.
“The accused deliberately, in an angered state, drove backwards while looking where he was going, mounted the curb and struck the pole, the bike and the complainant,” [Judge] McMahon said.
“In all likelihood the accused did intend to strike the complainant with his car,” added McMahon. But “an inference could be drawn that (Ahmed’s) target was the bike and (Kastelewicz) got in the way.”
So if I aim a gun at bike and hit the rider instead, it isn't assault with a deadly weapon? Oh well, at least the cabbie didn't get off completely.
The road rage was a response by the cabbie to Kasztelewicz's complaint that the driver had almost hit him. This happens a lot at this intersection; it is a relatively narrow two-way street with parking on one side, and the intersection is one of the few without a four way stop sign. Four years ago I wrote about the tensions between drivers and cyclists:
How about doing something to reduce those tensions. How about putting black box recorders in taxis, decent north/south bike lanes, one way streets where they are not wide enough to accommodate such traffic, and building a bike-friendly city.
In those four years, it has just got worse in Toronto. Two weeks ago a cabbie was caught on video, apparently deliberately veered his car into a longboarder and then drove over him, killing him. James Schwartz notes that in the Toronto Sun, cab drivers complain that they are "sick of pedestrians, cyclists and boarders of all descriptions ignoring even the most basic road rules and putting lives in danger."
CBC report on the Chris Kasztelewicz case below.