Cyclist Memorial

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

  • Memorial for fallen cyclist Harold Donald Bilodeau Thursday 10 September 2009, 7:00pm at Bloor/Spadina*

Advocacy For Respect For Cyclists (ARC) will hold a memorial for Harold Donald Bilodeau, 66 years old, cyclist killed at Spadina and Nassau after a collision with a streetcar when turning left across its path, and following many days in the hospital. Bilodeau is the third Toronto cyclist to be killed in one month.

What happened to Bilodeau could happen to any cyclist. Ron Freeman, a former Toronto bike messenger, commented on the complicated and confusing traffic signal design at this intersection: “…even the most patient and law abiding … yet unsuspecting… cyclist can EASILY omit the relatively quiet, fast-moving southbound streetcar from the traffic mix and succumb to the urge to get over the rails fast… I urge you to go there and experience it yourself… watch the ‘transit’ signal which flashes green or red to the streetcar operator…. then observe how the ‘u-turn’ or ‘left turn’ signal operates…”

ARC holds memorials for cyclists killed on the roads of Toronto. We do not make judgment about the whys and wherefores: we recognise that with the advantages of cycling come certain dangers, not least from the larger machines we ride among. We recognize that as cyclists we have to take special care in an ecology geared toward granting priority to the passage of motorised vehicles.

At the same time, we recognise that at the intersection of Spadina and Nassau, like many other signalised intersections in the city, cyclists are often left to sort their own way through the cracks: pedestrians have buttons to push to give them right of passage; cars have magnetic coils in the road that are activated by the hulk of metal when the car passes above; streetcars have special electronic activators that keep a light green ahead to allow passage.

Bicycle riders need the same level of attention from the planners of city transportation and infrastructure. ARC calls on the city to pay attention to this serious lack of planning around the needs of cyclists, not least as a tribute to the memory of cyclists like Harold Donald Bilodeau.

Memorial date and time: Meet Thursday Sept 10 at 7 pm, parkette at the corner of Spadina and Bloor, for a brief ride south to the crash site, departing by 7:15.

  • Media contact: Derek Chadbourne 416 828 0370

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