“This video is emblematic of a problem that we all are aware of on our streets. Toxic masculinity and road violence is common,” said personal injury lawyer David Shellnut.
“We have cases of cyclists who are seriously injured after people have weaponized their cars to hit them on purpose.”
In the 28-second video, the motorist appeared to drive toward the cyclist more than once before exiting his vehicle.
No one was injured but one of two cyclists involved in the incident told Global News he was left shocked and disturbed by what happened.
“It kind of caught me off guard and I was in awe that this happens to that extent,” said Nicholas Raimondo. “It was just shocking, I’d say.”
Raimondo recalled that he and his friend went biking at High Park last Thursday to see the cherry blossoms when they encountered a Nissan Altima, which he said was parked in the bike lane.
“She kind of gave a little yell, as cyclists do, to get the attention of the driver and then I guess when he didn’t notice she kind of tapped his mirror just to, kind of, I don’t want to say startle him, but get his attention a little more … and then at that point, I guess he had darted out and then instead of going after her, he kind of, I guess, set his eyes on me and kind of targeted me,” said Raimondo.
He said he was relieved the driver went after him, and not his friend, who just recently was involved in a serious collision with a vehicle and had just recovered from it.
“In the video, you can see there’s two more times where he kind of tried to get me and then on the third time, he actually had got out of his vehicle and tried to intimidate us…. At that point, I just kept biking, just trying to avoid the situation … but then at that point, I turned around and realized my friend was back there and he was getting in her face,” he said.
Raimondo said the driver’s wife and child were in the vehicle and outside, a group of pedestrians had gathered.
“It didn’t seem real, you see it in like videos in the States and stuff, I want to say you see it occasionally, but you never think it’ll happen to you,” he added.
In the wake of the incident, Shellnut, who represents cyclists, is calling on Ontario’s future premier to pass legislation to toughen penalties for drivers who engage in road rage targeting cyclists.
“The Protecting Vulnerable Road Users Act is being proposed. (University—Rosedale incumbent) Jessica Bell and many other NDP MPPs have put forward a bill to toughen penalties, take away driver’s licences, do driver training for cases like this that result in serious injury,” he said.
“We need to send a message that road violence is not OK, that if you use your vehicle, whether negligently, dangerously or on purpose, to hurt somebody, that it is going to come with serious consequences.”
Shellnut also wants to see action at the municipal level.
“We need to continue to focus on consistent, well-thought-out and separated infrastructure and as a community, we need to start treating driving as a right and not a privilege. Everybody just deserves to be safe,” he added.
Shellnut is advising and guiding Raimondo to file a police report over the High Park incident.
“Every time I go down in the city, I’m almost guaranteeing one incident like this to happen. This one actually was caught on camera, which is good, but most of the time it’s like you never see it, you never hear about it, nothing ever happens, nothing ever comes from it,” said Raimondo.