Two people in Toronto, one on foot and one on a bike, recently got into a fight after nearly colliding. The altercation happened on a street that’s supposed to give pedestrians and cyclists their own dedicated lanes, and is a reminder of how important it is to share space.
A video posted by the Toronto Star shows the two men exchanging words before throwing punches, with the one on foot saying the one on a bike almost ran him over.
The video is barely more than a minute long, and we don’t know what happened before the camera started rolling. But it’s safe to say that the tension was at least partially rooted in a universal dilemma: on crowded city streets, pedestrians and cyclists have to vie for space.
The incident happened on Queens Quay, which runs along Toronto’s waterfront and opened with space for pedestrians, cyclists, streetcars and automobiles in June. While local blogs have widely lauded the design, they have also noted its unique challenges.
“It seems that drivers, pedestrians and cyclists aren’t heeding the standard signs, signals and line painting that are there to guide them through the street’s new intersections and driveways,” wrote Waterfront Toronto, the agency responsible for the street, in a recent post. “So, we’re working on a few small changes to make these cues even more clear and to make the street as safe as possible.”
We face similar issues in Washington
While our region continues to build more protected bike lanes that separate cyclists from cars and pedestrians, things can still get tense. For example, mid-block crossings by pedestrians have plagued cyclists using the protected bike lane on M Street NE, something that Twitter users hope new green paint will help deter.
It’s always good to remind one another that whether we’re on foot or on a bike (or using any other mode of transportation), respecting each other’s space can help us avoid altercations like the one in Toronto. The video above is a good reminder of what can happen when we forget this.