Cycling deaths in Toronto year-to-date surpass 2023 total

There have been three cycling-related fatalities this year, according to data from the city of Toronto. That already surpasses end-of-year totals for 2021, 2022 and 2023.

While significant developments have been made on cycling infrastructure, advocates and longtime enthusiasts say a critical component is missing.

“One thing that would be great is educating drivers,” suggested cyclist David Walsh. “Sometimes I feel like–especially after the winter where you don’t have a lot of cyclists out and about–people forget about us.”

The journey home for many in Toronto is often paved with a myriad of challenges, including congestion, construction and road surface degradation.

According to the city, 115 kilometres of new bikeways were installed between 2018 and 2023 and 90 kilometres of existing bikeways were upgraded.

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A city spokesperson tells Global News it remains committed to its Vision Zero Road Safety Plan. The plan is focused on reducing traffic-related deaths and serious injuries on Toronto streets.

Last week, 59-year-old seasoned cyclist Vlad Zotov was fatally struck and killed while riding his bicycle on Bayview Avenue, close to a Don Valley Parkway off ramp. On Monday evening, friends and fellow cyclists honoured his memory with a ghost ride and commemoration at the site of the crash.

“There is a huge cost when people lose their lives or are seriously injured as a result of a crash with a motor vehicle,” says lawyer and cycling advocate David Shellnutt.

In a statement to Global News, the city says in part that it is saddened by the “latest tragic death of a cyclist on our streets,” adding that it is continually working to increase safety for all road users under Vision Zero and the Cycling Network Plan.

David Walsh is hoping what has been happening on city streets will be treated with a sense of urgency.

“It’s something that shouldn’t be that difficult, to keep people from losing their lives, so I think more work needs to be done, and faster.”

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