Onlia HQ is in the heart of Toronto, and our staff commutes from all over the GTA; some walk to the office, some cycle, and others drive in. As you might expect, we have some near-miss stories of our own to share.
We also connected with road safety and transportation expert Alex Kelly for tips on how we can avoid these close calls, and do our part to make Toronto’s roads safer!
“You don’t belong here” — Mosann S., Claims team
"It was my first day cycling to my job — it was about a 10 km commute. I was on Eglinton approaching Kingston Road; there’s a curve in the road and then a T intersection where you have to turn either left or right. I was making a left onto Kingston Road when a lady driving an SUV yelled out of her window “get off the “f%$&ing road, you don’t belong here.”
Yikes. While there may not be bike lanes on all roads, cyclists do have the right to share road space with cars, buses, trucks, and motorcycles as stated in Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act. Sharing the road can be pretty challenging when space is cramped, but it’s important to remember that everyone has somewhere to be. So slow down, and be courteous to other road users; they’re all equally entitled to use the roads!
“It’s usually up to me to pull back so that I don’t get hit” — Chris V., Development team
“Often, when I’m in the designated bike lane and the car next to me wants to turn right, they won’t check their blind spot — or even look next to them. It’s usually up to me to pull back so that I don’t get hit. I’ve had some very close calls with this, and even with big vans in this situation.”
Everyone should drive, ride, and walk in a way that is predictable. Staying in your lane, making turns that are indicated, and obeying traffic laws ensures that everyone is dependable and reliable. Drivers should always check their blind spots, whether it’s for other vehicles, cyclists, or pedestrians that may be about to cross. However, the onus isn’t just on drivers…
“I thought that move was pretty risky” — Tarisha, Content team
“One time, a cyclist pulled around to the left of my car at a red light and rode in front of me to make a right turn. I understand that they didn’t want to wait behind the other cyclists that were waiting at the intersection, but I thought that move was pretty risky. What if the light changed and I let my foot off the gas just as they started crossing in front of my car?”
A little more reinforcement that everyone should drive, ride, and walk in a way that is predictable. Unless all road users follow the rules, there will always be the risk of collision and injury. While vehicles dominate most roadways and often cause the most damage, it’s important that vulnerable road users take as many precautions as they can to keep themselves out of harm’s way, and put their own safety first – if people don't know where to expect you, they may not look for you.