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Crime

Racial slur hurled at Edmonton cyclist prompts calls for civility from motorists

WATCH ABOVE: One man is calling for more civility between Edmonton drivers and cyclists after a heated encounter last week. While cycling home from work, Bashir Mohamed got into an argument with a driver and the situation quickly escalated. Erin Chalmers reports.

An Edmonton man is calling for more civility between drivers and cyclists on city roads after a heated encounter last week.

While cycling home from work, Bashir Mohamed got into an argument with a motorist that quickly escalated.

“You don’t care that they called me that?” he can be heard saying in a video posted to his Facebook page.

Mohamed said he was cycling home downtown near 104 Avenue and 104 Street on Friday, July 29.

“People in a truck honk at me, guy gets out, yells, ‘Get off the road you f-ing N-word,” Mohamed said.

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“My initial reaction was a little irrational, but I decided the best thing to have some justice was to record it.”

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READ MORE: City of Edmonton crews remove rogue bike lane along Saskatchewan Drive 

He also filed a report, but police say there are no grounds to charge the driver.

“These are challenging circumstances and often times, when you talk about language, there is no real remedy within the Criminal Code for these types of things,”
EPS Insp. Dan Jones said. “So, they become challenging investigations to make people feel satisfied with what happened.”

The motorist involved in the incident has since apologized to Mohamed, writing that he wishes he could take back his words and actions that day, adding it is not the type of person he is or a reflection of his character.

For Mohamed, there’s a bigger picture. This isn’t just an example of racism, he said; it also shows the tension between cyclists and drivers in the city.

“This incident wouldn’t have happened if there were bike lanes,” he said.

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“I’m not saying bike lanes solve racism, but that was the one frustrating thing as a cyclist in Edmonton and with Edmonton being one of the only major cities left in Canada without a downtown bike grid and their plans are four years from now.”

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READ MORE: City admits ‘we could have planned better’ before implementing bike lanes 

That is a frustration Mayor Don Iveson says he hears loud and clear.

Having been a cyclist and cycling advocate for years, he’s confident council is starting to move in the right direction.

“I’m hoping we’ve reversed course on this now and we can start to put in infrastructure where it’s needed – which is in the core – and we can build out cost effectively from there,” Iveson said. “It will require some investment but it’s for the safety of folks like Mr. Mohamed and to reduce conflict with our less-enlightened motorists.”

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