Toronto recently witnessed an outpouring of grief for a woman crushed to death under the wheels of a truck.
The outpouring of grief is correct, for a life was snuffed out, and in writing this I highlight the lack of grief for another party, and hope to spare several lives in the future.
The original news story “Woman killed when bike collides with large truck” broke eight days ago and has been followed by a series of stories:
The common thread through these stories is that the police have not, and now will not, lay charges against the truck-driver.
What do you think that this means?
From the news articles alone we can draw no certain conclusions, but from the news articles alone it is easy to come to the conclusion that the cyclist was at fault.
Picture a scene where a truck is stopped at an intersection, waiting to make a right-hand turn. Traffic is flowing from left to right while the truck driver waits for a break in the traffic flow.
Meanwhile, unknown to the driver, who is looking to his left, a cyclist approaches from behind, sees a gap between the truck and the side of the road, and “squeezes through” to save a few seconds.
The truck driver might even make a last-second check of the right-hand mirror before beginning the turn, but by then the cyclist has passed out of view and is in the truck’s blind spot, near the front wheels.
Only the truck driver and the police know what probably happened; and since there are no recorded witnesses, no-one can know for sure what did happen.
But whenever I see the continual disclaimer “…the truck driver … will not be charged” I figure that there was not a shred of fault ascribed to the truck driver.
In a city where cycling is promoted as a healthy alternative to powered vehicles, this seems like a case of the cyclist being at fault.
- I am, as you may know, a driver, a cyclist and a pedestrian.
- In my youth I drove a large fully-laden wheat truck.