Pedestrian Injured by Cyclist Calls for Regulated Cycling in Toronto

Update: see previous posts – July 28, 2011 Bicycle Helmets Lead to Fewer Head Injuries for Cyclist’s Who Wear Them, July 17, 2011 Cyclists Ignore the Signs at Kew Gardens, July 13, 2011 Toronto Bicycle Lanes Eliminated, July 9, 2011 Cyclists Continue Riding the Wrong Way on a One-Way Street (Huron Street), July 8, 2011 Toronto Police to Ticket Cyclists and Motor Vehicles Ignoring Cyclist’s Space, July 7, 2011 Careless Driving Causing Death?, May 4, 2011 Police Charge Parent of Young Cyclist Not Wearing His Bicycle Helmet, May 2, 2011 Cyclist on Powered-Assisted Bicycle Charged with Not Wearing a Helmet and Impaired Driving, March 9, 2011 Cyclist Launches 20 Million Lawsuit against Cycling Club & Association, January 27, 2011 Time to Update the Cycling Laws in Toronto & Ontario?, January 8, 2011 Toronto is Ready to Invest in the Safety of Cyclists,December 22, 2010   Toronto’s First Count of Downtown Cyclists (Sept. 2010) , November 8, 2010 Week Long Pedestrian Safety Campaign/Blitz, October 10, 2010 Bike Boxes , September 16, 2010 Private Member’s Bill requires a minimum of one metre paved shoulder be added whenever designated provincial highways are repaved to reduce accidents/fatalities , August 26, 2010 Police Lay 400 Charges Against Cyclists/Pedestrians , May 19, 2010 Motorists Must Stay 3,4 or 5 Feet Away from Bicyclists , March 29, 2010 Toronto’s Zero-Tolerance Bicycle Blitz , November 16, 2009 Most Dangerous Intersections for Pedestrians – Toronto (2008) , October 12, 2009 Idaho Stop Law , September 7, 2009 Toronto Police Bicycle Safety Blitz , March 21, 2009 Bicycle Accidents Toronto, Reported in 2008 , December 20, 2008 City of Toronto Considering Installing “Rumble Strips”

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Cyclists cannot continue to race through red-lights and mow down pedestrians, injuring them

Emily Niedoba believes that cyclists should be licensed and be required to carry insurance.

On Sunday, June 5, 2011 31-year old Emily Niedoba worked out at a fitness gym and upon finishing she had a shower.  Following her workout she was walking at Yonge Street and Rosehill Avenue at about noon when, through no fault of her own, her life was to change.

A male cyclist, weighing in at 240 pounds, happened to be riding his bicycle at the same time and place.  This cyclist and his bicycle came into contact with Ms. Niedoba.  As a result, Ms. Niedoba suffered head trauma and a brain injury.

Following the incident, she was taken from the place that she was hit, by ambulance to Sunnybrook Hospital.  She spend two (2) days in intensive care, where doctors treated her for a severe concussion, subdural hematoma, extensive facial swelling and bruising, an injured left eye and a badly separated shoulder. She spent another two (2) days in the hospital, for a total of four (4) days.

  Exactly one month later, on July 5, 2011 this happened to another female pedestrian at the Huron/Dundas St. W intersection.

Police allege that the cyclist travelled on his bicycle through a red light and ended up riding into Emily Niedoba, who ended up on the ground. The 240-lb cyclist was charged with “Failure to Yield” pursuant to the Highway Traffic Act.  A conviction of this highway traffic offence has a set fine of $150.00, a $30 victim fine surcharge and a $5 court fee.

Cyclists are suppose to "stop" while on the road facing a red light. When they run red lights and come into contact with pedestrians, the pedestrians are seriously injured, as happened on June 5, 2011 to Ms. Niedoba and again on July 5, 2011 to the 55-year-old female pedestrian suffered a fractured skull and was rushed to hospital, In both cases, large male cyclists crashed into female pedestrians, resulting in these pedestrians suffering head/brain trauma and having to be rushed to the hospital

After being hit by the cyclist, all that Ms. Niedoba could recall was her last memory of being in the fitness club and having a shower.

She is getting outpatient treatment at the neurotrauma clinic at Sunnybrook and has an August appointment at Sunnybrook’s brain injury clinic. The extent of injury to her eye is still under investigation and she is getting physiotherapy for her shoulder which will never be “completely normal again.’’

Not only is the fine for a cyclist running a red light “completely inadequate,’’ she says there is a need for regulating bikers.

What she would like to see are changes requiring all cyclists over the age of 16 to be licensed and carry insurance.

“They are travelling with velocity — they have the potential to cause a lot of damage,’’ says Niedoba who is considering a civil suit against the cyclist.

“Nobody, or their family, should have to go through this or die,’’ she says. Running a red light “is completely preventable . . . there’s enough violence in the world. We really shouldn’t be causing more damage and trauma to each other.’’

Talking about what happened is still emotionally difficult, says Niedoba, an actress and a producer with Urban Jungle Theatre who had started a job as a casting researcher for a television production company just before the accident. She went through a period of extreme depression for about a month after being hit “which I’m told is common with brain injuries,’’ she says. Her anxiety level has risen considerably.

This is the Second Time in Eight Months a Cyclist has Hit Her to the Ground and Injured Her:

What’s worse, this is the second time she has been hit by a cyclist who went through a red light. Last fall, she was crossing a street in Yorkville and was knocked to the ground, right near where some paramedics happened to be having a coffee. Niedoba couldn’t get up and they rushed over to help. The cyclist had stopped to see how she was.

“The paramedics put me on a backboard to take me to hospital and one of them said to him, ‘You have to stay around.’ ’’ At that point the cyclist ran and took off on his bike, says Niedoba, who suffered contusions and severe whiplash.

“It is an incredible strain of bad luck to be hit by two cyclists at locations a short distance apart within an eight-month period,’’ says Niedoba. “It definitely says something about our city.’’

What the Ontario Highway Traffic Act states:

Traffic control signals and pedestrian control signals

144.  (1)  In this section,

“driver” includes an operator of a street car; (“conducteur”)

“emergency vehicle” means,

(a) a vehicle while used by a person in the lawful performance of his or her duties as a police officer, on which a siren is continuously sounding and from which intermittent flashes of red light or red and blue light are visible in all directions, or

(b) either of the following vehicles, on which a siren is continuously sounding and from which intermittent flashes of red light are visible in all directions:

(i) a fire department vehicle while proceeding to a fire or responding to, but not while returning from, a fire alarm or other emergency call, or

(ii) an ambulance while responding to an emergency call or being used to transport a patient or injured person in an emergency situation; (“véhicule de secours”)

“intersection” includes any portion of a highway indicated by markings on the surface of the roadway as a crossing place for pedestrians; (“intersection”)

“pedestrian” includes a person in a wheelchair; (“piéton”)

“vehicle” includes a street car. (“véhicule”) R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 144 (1); 2007, c. 13, s. 18; 2009, c. 5, s. 44 (1).

Divided roads

(2)  For purposes of this section, where a highway includes two roadways fifteen metres or more apart crossed by an intersecting roadway, each crossing shall be considered a separate intersection. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 144 (2).


(3)  The fifteen metres referred to in subsection (2) shall include exclusive left turn lanes where they exist. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 144 (3).

Commencement subss. (2), (3)

(4)  Subsections (2) and (3) come into force on a day to be named by proclamation of the Lieutenant Governor. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 144 (4).

Where to stop – intersection

(5)  A driver who is directed by a traffic control signal erected at an intersection to stop his or her vehicle shall stop,

(a) at the sign or roadway marking indicating where the stop is to be made;

(b) if there is no sign or marking, immediately before entering the nearest crosswalk; or

(c) if there is no sign, marking or crosswalk, immediately before entering the intersection. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 144 (5); 2006, c. 19, Sched. T, s. 6 (1).

Where to stop – non-intersection

(6)  A driver who is directed by a traffic control signal erected at a location other than at an intersection to stop his or her vehicle shall stop,

(a) at the sign or roadway marking indicating where the stop is to be made;

(b) if there is no sign or marking, immediately before entering the nearest crosswalk; or

(c) if there is no sign, marking or crosswalk, not less than five metres before the nearest traffic control signal. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 144 (6); 2006, c. 19, Sched. T, s. 6 (2).

Yielding to pedestrians

(7)  When under this section a driver is permitted to proceed, the driver shall yield the right of way to pedestrians lawfully within a crosswalk. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 144 (7).

Yielding to traffic

(8)  When under this section a driver is permitted to proceed, he or she shall yield the right of way to traffic lawfully using an intersection or, where traffic control signals are erected where a private road or driveway meets a highway, lawfully using the area controlled by the traffic control signals. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 144 (8); 2006, c. 19, Sched. T, s. 6 (3).


(9)  The provisions of this section are subject to any sign, as prescribed by the regulations, forbidding a left turn, right turn, through movement or combination thereof that is posted at an intersection and every driver shall obey every such sign. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 144 (9).

Obeying lane lights

(10)  Every driver shall obey every traffic control signal that applies to the lane that he or she is in. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 144 (10).

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One thoughtful comment

  1. Lighting – the most important part of cycling in the city safety
    By law your bicycle must have a white front light and a red rear light or reflector when you ride between one-half hour before sunset and one-half hour after sunrise. As well, the law requires white reflective strips on the front forks and red reflective strips on the rear stays. I would add that active lights are mandatory during this time.
    Clothing can improve or reduce visibility. Yellow and white stand out best at night; dark colors are difficult to see. Pedal reflectors and reflective material on wrists, ankles, heels, clothing and helmets help others see you.
    Unfortunately you do not promote this passive and active safety for the cyclist as well as reflecting clothing.
    When I drive at night in downtown Toronto it is very difficult to see bicycle without any reflectors or active lights. In the rain it is impossible to see such riders. No bike lines will compensate for lack of cyclist visibility in fast difficult and congested car traffic. Any accident with cyclist is potentially deadly or severely disabling for rider. Common sense does not exist and $20-30 of reflectors and active lights would be much more efficient in saving life’s then 10 000 words. Reflecting light vest cost $5.00. Police doesn’t enforce Traffic Rules; you do not promote right safety – so people are going to die – saving on pollution, space and being convicted that they are going to preserve planet.
    Jacek Karski MD
    Toronto General Hospital

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