Cycling provides me with an ultimate sense of freedom. It’s an absolute joy to hop on my bike and feel like I could go anywhere while connecting with my city in an active way. Unfortunately, cycling in my home city of Toronto can be risky and each time I head out, I wonder if I’ll keep safe.
I’ve been hit three times in the past year while riding my bike. Once I was struck from behind while waiting to make a left turn. Another time, a truck backed up unexpectedly, crushing my front wheel, pinning me between my bike and a pole while people on the sidewalk screamed at the driver to stop. And of course, I’ve also been awarded the infamous ‘door prize.’ As a passenger door swung open into my lane, I was unable to stop in time and plowed right into the top corner of the door, being struck in the chest right over my heart.
And while these experiences have been terrifying, I know that by not getting back on my bike, I leave the rest of the cycling community to fend for themselves. To keep safe we need more cyclists on the road. We need better attitudes about biking. We all need to be more respectful – both drivers and cyclists alike. We all need to follow the rules of the road. And we need infrastructure that keeps drivers, cyclists and pedestrians safe.
I will never stop riding. But I hope that someday I can stop being fearful for my life each time I head out the door on two wheels.
To make cycling safer in Toronto, I’ve launched the Rob Ford Rides the City Challenge to ask our city’s notoriously bike-adverse Mayor to take a spin on our wheels for the day. Join the challenge here!
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