August 19, 2021

Action Alert RE Yesterday’s Avenue and Bloor Tragedy

Yesterday at 6:30 PM, 18-year-old Miguel Joshua Escana was killed by a cement truck driver while biking on Avenue Road immediately north of Bloor Street. While a ghost bike memorial ride will be held on Wednesday, August 25 and my condolences go to the family of the fallen cyclist, I would like to issue an urgent call to action. Especially considering the collision happened on a road which was supposed to get the ActiveTO treatment including protected bike lanes, but was never done.

Collision scene at Avenue and Bloor on August 18, 2021 (Via Toronto Police Operations)

Please e-mail Mayor Tory and the ActiveTO team with all 25 councillors blind copied urging them to not just implement the Avenue Road ActiveTO project from Bloor to Davenport now, but also accelerate bike lane installations across the city and make last year’s ActiveTO projects permanent. Below is the e-mail I sent yesterday, though I encourage you to come up with your own submissions.



BCC:; ‎; ‎; ‎; ‎; ‎; ‎; ‎; ‎; ‎; ‎; ‎; ‎; ‎; ‎; ‎; ‎; ‎; ‎; ‎; ‎; ‎; ‎; ‎; ‎; ‎ 

Date: August 18, 2021 

Subject: Tonight's Cyclist Fatality at Bloor and Avenue

Good evening, Mayor Tory and the ActiveTO team.

It has been brought to my attention an 18 year old cyclist was killed by a cement truck driver on Avenue Road just north of Bloor Street this evening. While my condolences go to the family of the fallen cyclist, I would like to express my disappointment with how the City failed to deliver an ActiveTO project which could have prevented this situation from happening.

When Toronto City Council approved ActiveTO on May 28, 2020, it included an instruction to study extending the (now existing) University cycle tracks north from Bloor to Eglinton along Avenue Road. The ActiveTO website currently reads the following:

Avenue Road between Bloor Street East and Davenport Road is under consideration for temporary cycling tracks. Currently there are several on-going developments under construction with lane closures. Once the construction hoardings are removed, the City will consider the northern extension.

This failure to implement an ActiveTO project on Avenue Road has lead to the unnecessary death of a vulnerable road user and is something you and the other members of City Council BCC'ed to this e-mail need to rectify as soon as possible to prevent more injuries and/or deaths from happening in the future. You also have the obligation to start treating the climate emergency for what it is by not just getting the Avenue Road ActiveTO project done, but also accelerating the installation of bike lanes elsewhere across the city and making last year's ActiveTO projects permanent.

We don't need more studies proving the effectiveness of protected bike lanes or the consequences of not having them installed. What we need is the political will to make Toronto's streets safe for all, as well as accomplish the climate targets called for in TransformTO.

I thank you for taking this matter into consideration and please don't hesitate to contact me should you wish to discuss the matter further.

Sincerely yours, 

Robert Zaichkowski, CPA, CMA


A few updates have come up since my original action alert was issued.

  1. The identity of the cyclist was confirmed to be Miguel Joshua Escanan. This blog post has been updated with this information.
  2. ARC organized a ghost bike memorial ride on Wednesday, August 25. As always, fellow blogger Jun N has documented the memorial ride on his blog.
  3. My action alert has been picked up by several media outlets including by BlogTO, the Toronto StarGlobal News, and Thanks Gilbert Ngabo of the Toronto Star and Catherine McDonald of Global News for speaking with me about this matter. Thanks Joanna Lavoie for including the action alert in the article, as well as the other road safety advocates who spoke with the media about Avenue Road.
  4. Toronto City Council approved Motion MM36.18 by Councillors Layton and Matlow calling for the expedition of work for a complete street pilot on Avenue Road, as well as have city staff report back on safety improvements for other arterials with at least six traffic lanes. Thanks to those of you who e-mailed city council on this important matter.

1 comment:

  1. What a tragedy for sure. People have to start taking road safety more serious. The roads are for bikes as well and more should take this into consideration when driving. Making remarks and reporting incidences do not solve the problem. Real action needs to take place. My condolences to Miguel's family.