It happened again.
Fuck, I’ve used this opening again. I’ve written this post before. A car. A bicyclist (or pedestrian). A collision. Injuries. What the hell is wrong with this city that we never really respond to the deaths, dangers and injuries in our streets.
On Sunday, it was at Wellington and Granville. A bicyclist lying in the road. A trip to the hospital:
At the time, we didn’t know what had happened. “A possible dooring” was said. We didn’t know the extent of the injuries. They “looked serious” but–the God–were relatively minor.
Really, we know hardly anything…and we should. We know this is a dangerous street, with conflict designed-in. We know that people aren’t comfortable biking there. We know that the only real way to provide bike safety is to provide segregated infrastructure.
But we don’t know what happened Sunday. There’s been no reporting that I’ve seen. It’s gone unnoticed by the press and the public. Earlier in the summer, we had a week or two-long moral panic about a bicyclist who went through a red light and got hit by a car, flying through the air, landing uninjured.
We had op-eds about how bicyclists needed to obey the rules. We grieved for the driver (who darted out from behind a car that was stopping for the negligent bicyclist). We bemoaned the lawlessness and recklessness that led to zero fucking injuries.
Now we have an image of a bicyclist lying in the road, ambulance in attendance, and nothing.
We went through weeks of the city bitching about people not using a useless piece of infrastructure built for little reason other than to do something with the wasted space by the American Embassy. This wasn’t in response to an accident, but a massive PR blunder by multiple levels of government.
Wellington West, on the other hand, has been an ongoing issue when it comes to bike safety. It’s not the first time someone’s been injured, and with the city’s helpful negligence, it damn well won’t be the last.
Petty fights about parking have plagued the area. Now we see the results, and we hear nothing from the very reporters, pundits and outlets that couldn’t get enough of that story about the scofflaw bicyclist who hurt nobody.
Hell, I did a search for “wellington bicycle collision ottawa” and the first hit was that stupid story. The first hit under News was freeloaders complaining about having some of their free parking threatened for bike safety by Wellington West.
There’s no city conversation. No exhortations for council and planners to accept responsibility for the dangerous infrastructure they build and maintain. No demands that people learn how to open their doors without potentially killing someone.
And there’s no talk of better infrastructure to keep people like this pour fellow safe.
On streets like this, bikes and cars shouldn’t be mingling, and by God bicyclists shouldn’t be used as a protective barrier for parked cars.
But, in the end it’s all about cars. We can’t have bike lanes there because of cars. We can’t have a bike lane a block north because of cars. We can’t even have a popular bike corral because of cars.
I’ve said and written before that the city–council and planners–don’t care about street safety. Ignore words and look at results. Safe infrastructure is deplorably sparse in our city. And now we have even more proof.
A bicyclist fell in Wellington West, and we chose not to hear.