I tend to agree with this... there is absolutely nothing a bikelane would've done to prevent a cyclist/motorist incident akin to what happened Monday, and part of me thinks it's a little tacky of cycling advocates to use someone's death as an oppurtunity to push for bikelanes.
We don't know who to blame, but it's hard to believe a better biking network would have changed anything. Torontonians have become accustomed to the cavalier attitude of bike couriers, who are to bicycle commuters what pirates are to weekend boaters. They don't bother much with rules at the best of time, their first approach to conflict is confrontation, and almost as soon as word of the accident was out they were organizing street protests at which they could block traffic and shout at motorists. Torontonians unfortunate enough to have to navigate the city's confined and congested streets knows that any conflict with a courier risks immediate escalation to shouts, threats and fists pounding on the hood of their car. Fear is the operative word.
There are a large number of avid cyclists in Toronto and they could certainly use better facilities, but it would be wrong to turn Mr. Sheppard, a proud member of the courier community, into a martyr for their cause. The frustration of Toronto traffic affects cars, buses, pedestrians and anyone else trying to get from one place to another at a reasonable speed and a minimum of hassle. Drivers upset at being delayed by a streetcar have no right to block its path or smash their fists against its windows to show their rage. Pedestrians blocked by a TTC bus aren't entitled to shout curses at the driver or threaten the passengers. Couriers are no different. The last thing this city needs is another self-declared activist group that feels empowered to make life miserable for everyone else until the city caves in to its demands.
We should mourn the tragedy that befell Mr. Sheppard, but the issue at hand has nothing to do with bike lanes.