Effort to defuse ’car war’ tensions as Michael Bryant faces Monday court hearing
Published On Mon Oct 19 2009
In a bid to ease tensions between Toronto motorists and cyclists, a group representing the biking community is printing thousands of “thank you” cards for distribution to drivers who are courteous on the road.
Meanwhile, former Ontario attorney general Michael Bryant was facing a Monday appearance in court in connection with a cyclist’s death after a confrontation on Bloor St. this summer.
Bryant has been charged with criminal negligence causing death and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death, after cyclist Darcy Allan Sheppard lost his life.
The “Cyclists Paving the Way” campaign is meant to dial down some of the rhetoric being heard in the so-called “war on the car,” says Yvonne Bambrick, executive director of the Toronto Cyclists Union.
About 5,000 cards with the words “Thank You” have been printed for cyclists to give to deserving drivers, perhaps by tapping on the car window at a stop light, Bambrick said.
A motorist who looks over his or her shoulder before swinging open their door into the street – sparing an oncoming cyclist the chance of collision – would qualify for a card, Bambrick says.
It’s “a chance for cyclists to thank the drivers who do see them, and do treat them with respect and as fellow citizens,” she added.
“We’re trying to move away from the angry stuff that happened over the summer,” she told a group at this weekend’s BikeCamp T.O. event, which the union put on to discuss cycling issues.
The city has been establishing more road space for cyclists – at much inconvenience to drivers, some argue – which has been dubbed “war on the car” by critics.
Film technician Marvin Midwicki, 58, said he’ll give out the cards to help drivers realize that “cyclists are not crazy people.”