Learn more about BikingToronto and Singer Kwinter

Kensington Rage & Life After Cars

I am blown away by the coverage that the Kensington motorist-cyclist altercation is getting. Spacing.ca reports that the story was on the front page of the Star (along with an article about the incident along with sometimes mean and cruel remarks aimed at both the motorist and the cyclist). To be frank and honest, I did nickname the motorist “CrazyDriverGuy” in my post about the incident… and that was even before I knew that Leah, the courier, didn’t key his car on purpose, but that her bike key (which was attached to her wrist) scratched the car as the motorist was trying to stomp her and her bike.

Other things this story has made me think about:

  • Is Canada stricter than the U.S. regarding anti-littering by-laws?
  • Is this story a good example of how drivers and cyclists interact with their environments? Are cyclists more inclined to care about litter and the urban (or rural) environment because they are more a “part” of it than drivers are?
  • Was it unreasonable for Leah the bike courier to return the food to the driver after it was thrown out the window? If, for instance, a driver accidentally dropped a glove, or a hat, or a CD, or a package of (new) diapers out of their car and a pedestrian or cyclist could help them out with the return of their property, shouldn’t the same extend to food and cigarettes and their cast-offs? When someone buys a cheeseburger, they buy the packaging too. Was Leah simply giving back to the driver what was legally his?
  • Should we all throw a big Good Citizen party for Leah?

Anyhow on to another topic: the “Big Event” today is the screening TONIGHT of “The End of Suburbia: Oil Depletion and the collapse of the American Dream” at the Bloor Cinema at 7 pm. Admission is $9 and is sponsored by the good people at the Toronto Public Space Committee. This is obviously for everyone who advocates a “car-free” or “less-car-dependent” lifestyle. I will try and make it myself because other than the odd rental car to visit some crazy friends in the suburbs, my fiance and I are car-free, happily depending on the TTC and our bikes and walking to get around Toronto. I suppose it’s perhaps mean of me to get happy when gas prices go way up, but I get over any guilt pretty quickly.

More details about the film (and the question period afterwards) are available on the always dependable Spacing Wire website.

  • Teri

    The image was so disturbing, I clicked through and viewed them all — comments too. I just accepted a contract job that would allow me to bike to work for the first time ever. Now I am scared.

  • bikingtoronto

    Don’t worry about it Teri. Your first couple of times on the roads may be nerve-wracking (it was for me), but you get used to it quickly. If you want my advice, try and start with roads with bikelanes, even if you have to go a bit out of your way… then slowly start altering the route bit by bit to incorporate more non-bikelaned roads. You’ll get used to sharing a lane with traffic that way. Finally, don’t follow temptation by riding on the sidewalk… it’s not only really dangerous for pedestrians, but it’s the leading cause of car-bike collisions because they don’t expect something the speed of a bike coming from the sidewalk at an intersection. Where is the new job and where do you live? Maybe I can help you plan a route? Feel free to email me if you want more advice.