First, a cyclist died, and now we turn your attention to more important views of pretty flowers. As Charlie Brown said “Don’t you know sarcasm when you hear it?”
Albeit, our sarcasm is not exactly appropriate, as a death of a cyclist occurred on Thursday, morning, March 9, 2023, on Upper Middle Road and Eighth Line in Oakville, Ontario. What leads to this sarcasm is that this loss of a life is going to be just another statistic, in the long line of many, because we do not share crucial information about its occurrence, thus ensuring that another similar death will occur.
While it is early, there is little doubt that investigating police will reveal no further evidence as to how and why this collision occurred. No photograph of the collision site has been provided by police. The only mention of the occurrence is in the Twitter post by Halton Regional Police that goes as follows:
ROAD CLOSURE: Eastbound Upper Middle Rd from Golden Meadow Tl to 8th Line, Oakville (eastbound lanes only) Investigators on scene for cyclist struck by vehicle. Anyone with dash cam or who witnessed incident is asked to call 905-825-4777 ext 2210.”
No context is provided. While readers will argue that this is because this is very early in the investigation, this is not the point. Two months from now it is very likely that nothing further will be provided by police expect whether a charge has been laid against the car driver that struck the cyclist. We know this because this is how the process has functioned over and over again.
There is some help in that news media attended the site and some photos were uploaded to their various digital sites. Of particular mention is that DR @Media371 provided some very good quality photos showing the rest positions of the damaged cycle and the car. But these photos cannot be shown here. What is clear in these photos is that this was a multi-lane roadway and there was absolutely no provision at the right edge of the right lane for any cyclist to ride safely.
The rest positions of the cycle and car suggest that the impact may not have occurred at the right edge of the lane. But this is difficult to say with certainty without being at the site and being able to look at the details of the evidence – details that only the police have access to. And these details will never see the light of day.
The obvious question is this: Why was this cyclist riding along this road? Who do you blame? Had anyone ever informed this cyclist of the danger of riding on this road? The Ontario Ministry of Transportation and municipalities in Ontario have all stated that cyclists should ride on the road and not on the sidewalk because this is the safer alternative. But where are the data? Where is the data, for the last 10 or 20 years for example, which confirms the correctness of this policy? Where is the data that demonstrates how many fatalities of cyclists have occurred from riding on the road versus riding on a sidewalk? There is no solution that fits all, and risks exist in all situations, but surely why is such basic data not available?
As we publicize the economic and climate-change benefits of active transportation we are likely to place more and more cyclists on roadways where they are not safe. Yet we refuse to educate those cyclists with basic facts about how previous cyclist fatalities and occurred. This is simply unethical.