Cars vs Bikes vs Pedestrians

This is the hot button issue in Toronto right now.

The jockeying for position between drivers, riders and walkers is contentious at best but today, it is incendiary.

What happened Monday night in Yorkville was tragic. We don’t have all the details yet but people are quick to judge and are very divided. Most people are looking at this in absolute terms. I find it interesting how one’s opinion of this situation (from what I’ve seen and heard today) is heavily influenced by the degree in which one identifies (or doesn’t identify) with either of the two parties involved- a clear divide that seems to play into socio-economic and (dare I write it) class issues.

But things are rarely black and white and it is definitely not black and white here.

Who do I blame?

Both of them.

Both were at fault.

Both could have made different choices but didn’t.

As the details are rolled out in minutia in the coming days and people continue to point fingers, we should, perhaps, look at the bigger picture. My intention is not to trivialize the loss of life but there are other issues at play.

It shouldn’t be this adversarial but it is. Once could argue the media is trying to create more drama (because the sensational sells) but I have witnessed my share of rage and entitlement on the street to know that it isn’t just spin. It is easy to blame everyone else but ultimately, if we are going to point the finger at anyone, we should be pointing it at ourselves.

We will accomplish nothing if we encourage the “Us” versus “Them” mentality.

Those of us who live and work in this city have a vested interest in making Toronto a better place. We should be looking beyond our own self interest and give thought to what will make the city more functional.

It starts with dialogue. What is and what is not working?

Much has been made of the number of bike related accidents and the injuries resulting. Why are the numbers so high?

I have a bicycle but I am not comfortable riding in the city and I can’t be the only one who feels this way.

As the investigation continues and the issues become murkier and more complex what we should be asking is how can we make it safer for everyone?

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~ by angryegg on September 2, 2009.

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