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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Skateboarders in the Bicycle Lane

With the recent death of skateboarder Ralph Bissonnette, 28, I would like to briefly touch on the topic of skateboarders on the roads and in bicycle lanes.

Bissonnette was deliberately struck by a cab driver, Adib Ibrahim, 43, who appeared in court yesterday.

Video footage shows Bissonnette traveling in the curb lane, close to the passing lane, gesturing at the cab driver to go, but according to witnesses the taxi suddenly veered into Bissonnette’s lane and even mounted the curb of the sidewalk. Witnesses say the taxi struck Bissonnette then drive over his lower body.

Bissonnette died shortly after around 6 PM. The incident happened near King and George Streets, just east of Jarvis St.

According to police Ibrahim "lost his cool" and decided to punish the skateboarder by hitting him. Second-degree murder charges are laid where homicides are intentional but spur-of-the-moment and unplanned. A conviction carries a life sentence with possible parole after 10 years.

Police are looking for additional witnesses. Witnesses should call Detective Sergeant Terry Browne at 416-808-7403.

I personally don't have a problem with skateboarders using bicycle lanes and the right side of lanes the same way cyclists do. Same goes with rollerblading. The police however say it is strictly illegal and punishable.

The problem is that legally skateboards and rollerblades belong on the sidewalk, but if you've ever used either on a busy sidewalk you know its safer to use the road instead. Pedestrians can change directions at any moment without warning, people can come out of doors in a hurry and accidents can and will happen. Its the same reason why bicycling on the sidewalk is illegal (unless you're riding a children's bicycle or coasting) because there is a danger of hitting pedestrians.

Evidently the laws need to be updated and more bicycle lanes added. Bicycle lanes really should redubbed "alternative transportation lanes" or alt lanes.

What I do have a serious concern about is old people on mobility scooters who seem to have lost their marbles and are riding their mobility scooters in busy traffic. That to me is a public menace and an accident waiting to happen. (Its as if they are senile and don't know they're not in a car...)

In the footage below you will see an elderly Toronto man cross multiple lanes of traffic in his mobility scooter and then go the opposite way into oncoming traffic on the far side of the street. That is a public menace! (No cyclist or skateboarder would ever do anything that stupid.)

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Charles Moffat is equal parts bicycle mechanic, cyclist, painter, sculptor, fantasy writer, poet, website designer and pun maker. For more details see



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