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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Will Bicycle Couriers become Unionized?

Following in the wake of the tragic death of Toronto bicycle courier Darcy Allan Sheppard (who was run over by a politician on August 31st 2009) members of Toronto's bicycle courier community are advocating membership in the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.

As such they would be given the same legal rights and be able to get benefits and a pension in the future.

It also means bicycle couriers (and many other Toronto cyclists) will be pushing for more bicycle lanes in downtown Toronto.

Robert Melnyk, who has been a bike courier since 1984 says Sheppard's death has not helped to make the streets safer for cyclists, but instead has escalated tensions with motorists.

He says he's heard car drivers shout "You're next!" as he tries to navigate the downtown streets.

Impatient motorists suffering from road rage tend not to realize the danger they put cyclists in when they try to own the road and think cyclists have no place on it, which reinforces the idea for why Toronto needs more bicycle lanes.

FYI: In Toronto you can be fined up to $400 CDN if you cycle on the sidewalk with any wheel larger than 24 inches. The typical fine is $90, but if you're going really fast and acting recklessly you can be given additional fines and even charged with reckless endangerment.

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