Truck hits cyclist at campus crossing

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By Wojtek Dabrowski

An accident at a campus intersection has again raised safety concerns about streets around campus.

Stephen Ford, a 21-year-old bicycle courier, was hit by a truck at the intersection of Church and Gould streets on the afternoon of Sept. 29.

Ford, who was delivering a package, was travelling southing bound on Church Street when a billboard display truck turning west onto Gould Street, hit his bicycle. The accident happened just before 5 p.m., as rush hour traffic began to congest the intersection.

“I slid right under the truck, and I guess [the driver] must have seen e, because he stopped right away,” said Ford, wiping a thin stream of blood from his bandaged left shin. Ford suffered no serious injuries.

Claude Bergeron, the driver of the Bell Mobility billboard truck, said Ford blindsided him. “He caught me unaware,” he said, as he drew a diagram of the accident for the police. “I did not see him at all.”

Toronto Police Constable Peter Harrison said the driver faces a $90 fine for making an unsafe turn.

“These things happen.” Harrison said.

Unfortunately, it happens too often. The frequency of damage- or injury-inflicting accidents at the corner of Church and Gould streets is about once a month, with 13 accidents last year, according to Sergeant Peter Harmsen of 52 Division traffic response.

Gould Street would be safer if it was closed, Harmsen said. “Logically, less traffic means fewer accidents. The problem on Gould is that people are using it as a shortcut to avoid Yonge Street.”

Campus planner Manny Ravinsky has already proposed several changes that would reduce traffic volume.

One of his recommendations if approved by city council, would close the area around Gould and Victoria streets.

City councilor Kyle Rae said meetings will be held next year to discuss the plan. Meanwhile, he said, improvements such as stoplights and service lanes may be implemented.

The improvements need to be made soon, says Ryerson student Peter Tretter. Tretter was almost hit by a white van Sept. 23 after it ran a stop sign at Mutual and Gould streets.

Tretter said a police constable, who was at a movie shoot, did nothing to stop the speeding van.

Tretter has filed a complaint with Toronto Police Chief David Boothby.

“He didn’t even give him a ticket,” Tretter said.

The safety improvements proposed by Ravinsky should be expanded to include the whole campus, Tretter said.

“Stoplights should definitely replace stop signs, at least.”

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