Careless Driving Causing Death?


A bicycle lane. The City of Toronto reports that there was one fatality and 1,035 cyclist collisions between January and September 2010. As a result of this and other preventable accidents, some people are calling for a new highway traffic act offence, called "Careless Driving Causing Death".
"Watch For Pedestrians Sign"

On Tuesday, July 5, 2011, before 11 a.m., a 55-year-old woman was walking eastbound on the southside of Dundas Street West with two friends in Toronto’s Chinatown.

When she approached the intersection at Dundas Street West and Huron Street (south of Dundas St. W. – Huron is a one-way street, running north to Dundas St. W.) she crossed the street on a greed light with her friends.

At that same time, a 49-year-old cyclist was travelling south on Huron Street towards Dundas St. W. This cyclist allegedly travelled south through Dundas St. W. on a red light, towards Huron St. south of Dundas, which is a one-way street running north to Dundas St. W.

The street that this woman was crossing, was a one-way street running north to Dundas St. W and she couldn’t have expected a bicycle to attempt to enter it in the wrong direction, at a quick pace, from north of Dundas St. W. going south.

The 49-year-old cyclist crashed into the 55-year-old pedestrian, who was crossing Huron Street on a green light.

The crash was so severe that the cyclist crashed directly into the pedestrian, falling on top of her, which caused this 55-year-old woman to fall onto the road, which resulted in life-threatening head injuries. The cyclist was uninjured.

The 55-year-old female pedestrian suffered a fractured skull and was rushed to hospital, where she remains in serious condition.

CAUTION - Watch for Pedestrians Sign


Police did not identify the 49-year-old male cyclist, but charged him under the Highway Traffic Act with Careless Driving, which carries, upon conviction, a fine ranging from $490.00 to $2,000.00 and jail time of less than six months. There is no doubt that this 55-year-old female pedestrian will commence a civil suit against this cyclist upon learning the extent of her injuries and upon being released from the hospital and that the cyclist, if he has done what he is accused of doing, would be held liable.

  • Careless Driving – Section 130 of the HTA:
  • The penalty for these offences can be found in Section 130 of the HTA. The Justice of the Peace will exercise his/her discretion and based on the severity of the event and the offender’s driver’s record, penalties could range anywhere from a $490 to $2000 fine, six (6) months in jail (or both) and a possible suspension of one’s driver’s licence for not more than two (2) years.

    David Shiner - Ward 24 (Willowdale) Toronto City Councillor. Wants to see cyclists treated like licenced motor vehicle driver's, complete with a licence and a licence plate.

    Toronto police could have charged this 49-year-old male cyclist with a number of other Highway Traffic Act Offences, including:

  • Fail to Yield to Pedestrian – Section 140 (1) (a)
  • Red Light – Fail to Stop – Section 144 (18)
  • Drive Wrong Way – One way Traffic – Section 153
  • This area has also been dangerous for pedestrians, it is generally a congested area. Cyclists tend to travel through crowds of people on the roadway and sidewalks and to run the red lights. The rules of the road are often ignored.

    David Shiner, Toronto City Councillor (Ward 24 – Willowdale) would like to see cyclists licenced, with a test and a bicycle licence plate to identify cyclists.

    Hopefully the City will not have a knee-jerk reaction to this incident and over-react.

    On August 9, 2009 a pedestrian, Ms. Cheng Li Jiang, was walking on a Kennedy Road sidewalk (close to Sheppard Avenue), when a cyclist, only 15-years-old, ran into Ms. Jiang.  The collision was fatal and the cyclist was not charged.

View Larger Map. See this larger map, as this is the location where the 49 year old male cyclist crashed into the 55 year old female pedestrian, fracturing her skull on Huron Street, south of Dundas Street West at the intersection.

Update: July 8, 2011 – Why is careless driving not a crime?

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