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An Open Letter to Toronto’s Drivers

Dear Drivers,
We know that the weather is totally crappy outside, visibility is low, your brakes don’t work as well and you’re annoyed about your shiny car getting all wet. But please, drive carefully out there.
This list compiled by Joe over at Biking Toronto tells me that many of you aren’t thinking straight when you’re operating heavy machinery, and that’s not a good thing.
How else can we explain two hit-and-runs on the elderly in one day, the death of a mom going out for a jog, or a couple hit in a crosswalk. Even police officers aren’t safe.
It’s worth reminding that if you’ve been drinking, please take a cab or transit home or call a friend. Ditto if you’ve been taking cold and flu medication that makes you sleepier than a grizzly bear in January. Cell phones should be turned off. Save that PSP, Nintendo DS or portable DVD player for when you get home. And remember not everyone has the cat-like reflexes to get out of your way when you’re gunning it at 90 km/h.
We know it’s Friday and you want to get home. But don’t get careless, your mistake just might ruin someone else’s weekend.
Sincerely yours,

Photo by our own Gary Campbell from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.


  • mathew

    It can little worse than just a ruined weekend, eh?
    “Oh no! I’m dead! Well, this weekend is a bust.”

  • brokenengine

    There are so many drivers in this city that should have their licensces revoked, on the spot. The amount of times I drive is about once a month, and I’m constantly amazed at the infractions and ineptitude I see.
    That having been said, there are also a lot of cyclists out there that complain to anyone that will listen about car drivers that should have their bikes taken away. Just this morning I saw a cyclist in this weather blast through a “yellow, oops now red” light, causing someone that was turning right to slam on their brakes.

  • Ben Wendt

    Write back when there is a weekly slew of people killed and injured by cyclists! :P
    Seriously though, a good number of cyclists do need some education on the rules of the road (and some manners). I am just saying, the extra 4000 lbs of car and the extra 30 km/h make a big difference in terms of safety.

  • grounded

    “Write back when there is a weekly slew of people killed and injured by cyclists! :P”
    Thats the thing, anytime a cyclist is killed it is assumed (by the bike lobbyists) that the driver was at fault. Not always the case, as in the example in comment (2) above.
    I too wish our roads were safer, but this requires greater respect, consideration and tolerance by both drivers and cyclists.

  • Gloria

    A cop actually almost ran into me when I was exiting a streetcar today. Thanks, Toronto’s Finest.

  • vanessa

    What is most driving me crazy right now, as both a cyclist and a driver, is people who don’t bother to turn their lights on when it’s overcast, pouring rain and they’re going 100 km/hr in a grey car on the DVP. Just because it’s not technically night-time doesn’t mean you shouldn’t turn your lights on! yeesh…

  • DRH

    Safest thing is to never, ever assume that the other person, regardless of mode of transportation, sees you or is paying attention themselves. I can`t believe how many pedestrians I see walking in traffic like they are immune to bodily harm, cyclists going through lights or with no lights on at night. And of course the drivers, why put your faith in them? It seems you need your head on a swivel no matter what type of transportation you use. Be safe.

  • Lisa Kerr

    There is something about being a driver that turns even the most considerate person into a jerk.
    (Thanks to the car that splashed the contents of a big puddle onto me today.)

  • Rob Hyndman

    Something else to think about.

  • andrew

    also, nice bloody picture.

  • Anticorium

    “Seriously though, a good number of cyclists do need some education on the rules of the road (and some manners).”
    I’d settle for their getting some education on the rules of the sidewalk: to wit, sidewalks are for walking, jackass.
    If I had a dollar for every time I’ve nearly been run over by a bike on the sidewalk, I’d be rich enough to buy a car. If I had another fifty cents for every time this happened on a street that already has a perfectly good bike lane, I’d be able to buy the bicyclist a car, too.

  • xoro

    Cars are bad.
    Get rid of cars.
    What good is a car?

  • Gloria

    Oh, God. A man killed because the driver was downloading ringtones for her cellphone? That’s absolutely revolting.

  • andrew

    Anticorium – you’ve been nearly hit by cyclists 500 times? [that's the first cheap price on a camry on the toronto craigslist]

  • Anticorium

    andrew, I’ll take your therotical quetion and answer it seriously.
    It usually happens about four times a week.

  • Anticorium

    (What the hell is a “theortical” question? Apparently my dictionary took the weekend off.)

  • Mark Dowling

    I was nearly taken out by cyclists twice in about a week while crossing Adelaide (at the lights, at Bay, with a green signal).
    It’s not acceptable to just shout “heads up” rather than yield to pedestrians/red lights even if you’re a biker.