Tragedy on Avenue Road not an Anomaly

Police tape and vehicles line an intersection

Avenue Road just north of Bloor Street. Photo courtesy of Michael Aitkens/CBC

 

Last Wednesday, Miguel Joshua Escanan’s young life was taken while riding his bike on Avenue Road, metres beyond the end of ActiveTO bike lanes (and where a speedway begins). Avenue is not an anomaly; it is one of many six-lane highways cutting through Toronto that the City itself has identified as needing safety improvements.

Our elected leaders need to lead by acting on evidence we already have, not waiting until tragedy tears apart another family before thinking about safety. Waiting to redesign dangerous roads and regulate unsafe vehicles costs the lives of children, friends, partners, and parents. This is unacceptable.

Email the Mayor RE: Safe Infrastructure

&

Email the Premier RE: Safe Vehicles


We know what works

Designing roads with the safety of all road users in mind is the quickest way to reduce road injuries and death.

People of all ages ride bikes

Protected bike lanes provide dedicated space for people cycling. Streets with protected bike lanes have been shown time and again — in Toronto — to be safer for people cycling, walking, and driving. 

Toronto’s major roadways are streets where people live, work, learn, shop, and travel. People take transit, walk, and cycle on dangerous streets, like Avenue, in every corner of the city. We must transform these dangerous highways that divide our neighbourhoods into safe and comfortable main streets that connect our communities.

Protected bikeways are needed on Toronto’s major roads. It’s up to City Council to act quickly and prevent more suffering by approving redesigns of our roads and funding rapid change. 

Email the Mayor and Infrastructure Committee

Keep unsafe vehicles off the road.

The Avenue Road truck was so unsafe that “other drivers and pedestrians needed to alert the truck driver about the collision.” These trucks are dangerous by design: from 2006 to 2020, more than 174 pedestrians and cyclists have been seriously injured or killed by unsafe trucks on Toronto’s streets.

Infographic showing safety features of modern trucks

Around the world, increased vehicle safety standards exist for cities, but are not used in Toronto. These standards include high-visibility truck cabs, side-guards, proximity sensors, and blind-spot cameras.

Image showing visibility of different truck designs

High-visibility truck cabs (top) are much safer. Image source

Let the Premier know far too many people have died on Ontario’s streets due to these dangerous trucks, and his government must act now to implement these simple, life-saving measures. 

Email the Premier & Minister of Transportation


ARC Ghost Bike Ride

Advocacy for Respect for Cyclists (ARC) is organizing a memorial ride for Miguel Joshua Escanan, tomorrow, Wednesday.

Date: Wednesday, August 25
Time: 5:45PM
Duration: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Location: Matt Cohen Park (Spadina & Bloor)

More Details


Big Toronto Bike Ride presented by Bike Law

Cycle Toronto works every day to improve cycling in Toronto. Advocating for better cycling infrastructure and regulations is one of the many reasons we ride. If you want to support Cycle Toronto's work toward safer streets, please consider joining our annual fundraising ride, the Big Toronto Bike Ride presented by Bike Law, September 18 & 19.

Details and Registration


Sample email to Mayor

TO:

mayor_tory@toronto.ca, councillor_mckelvie@toronto.ca

CC:

iec@toronto.ca, active_TO@toronto.ca, VisionZeroTO@toronto.ca, info@cycleTO.ca

SUBJECT:

Save Lives: Accelerate and Fund Vision Zero Designs

BODY:

Dear Mayor Tory, Councillor McKelvie,

 

I was deeply saddened to hear of the tragic, preventable death of 18 year old Miguel Joshua Escanan. His life was taken just metres away from where safe road designs exist, but Avenue Road — and many others like it — persist as dangerous highways dividing Toronto’s communities. 

 

I know that Miguel Joshua Escanan’s tragedy will not be the last one Toronto will see, unless  Vision Zero is truly implemented. This means re-designing all major roads so that they are safe to use for everyone, and funding the implementation so that it happens now, not 10 or 20 years from now. 

 

Protected bike lanes in Toronto on streets like Bloor, Danforth, University, and Yonge have shown these projects can be installed quickly and cost-effectively while supporting local businesses, tackling climate change, and most importantly, saving lives. 

 

Build a citywide network of protected bike lanes and you will see results — a happier, healthier, safer city.

 

Thank you,

YOUR NAME

Sample email to Premier

TO:

premier@ontario.ca, minister.mto@ontario.ca

CC:

mayor_tory@toronto.ca, info@cycleTO.ca

SUBJECT:

Regulate Large Trucks and Save Lives

BODY:

Dear Premier Ford, Minister Mulroney,

 

I was deeply saddened to hear of the tragic, preventable death of 18 year old Miguel Joshua Escanan. He was the victim of regulations that allow unsafe trucks to operate on our streets. And he is not alone: from 2006 to 2020, more than 174 pedestrians and cyclists have been seriously injured or killed by unsafe trucks on Toronto’s streets.

 

Large, dangerous trucks like the one that collided with Miguel Joshua Escanan continue to be allowed on Toronto’s streets while other cities have enforced simple safety standards that can save lives. 

 

High-visibility truck cabs, side-guards, proximity sensors, and blind-spot cameras all contribute to the safety and well-being of Ontarians whether they are walking, cycling, or driving. London, England would be a great role model to follow: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-P20wdrcAQ

 

These need to be required of all large vehicles in Ontario before more tragedy occurs.

 

Thank you,

YOUR NAME

By Ry Shissler on Aug 24, 2021

  action alert, ConnectBloor, Keep ActiveTO