Toronto Auto Safety Crusader Held for Cyclist's Death

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

A former Ontario Attorney General who made a career crusading for severe auto safety laws is being held after witnesses say he killed a cyclist with his Saab convertible, according to the New York Times. Onlookers say Michael Bryant hit cyclist Darcy Allan Sheppard in downtown Ontario Monday evening, causing Sheppard to grab onto Bryant’s vehicle. Bryant then ran his Saab onto the sidewalk, apparently trying to knock Sheppard off by running him into streetlights and sign posts. He succeeded when Sheppard reportedly hit a mailbox and died. Bryant was best known for a 2007 law defining driving faster than 50 km/h as “street racing” with penalties including vehicle seizure. At the time, Bryant described cars as being “as dangerous as explosives.” Savor the irony.

[Thanks to TMcA for the link]

Update: According to the CBC, Sheppard may have grabbed Bryant or his car’s steering wheel and the two may have been struggling for control of the car.

Edward Niedermeyer
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  • David C. Holzman David C. Holzman on Sep 03, 2009

    psarhj, I see almost no bike messengers in my daily drives (betw Cambridge and Lexington). But it does sound impressive (in a bad way). ihatetrees; it's H-o-l-(no "t", just coffee please)-z-m-a-n

  • ZekeToronto ZekeToronto on Sep 03, 2009

    I'm forced to drive a lot in downtown Toronto and my biggest nightmares are caused by cyclists and bike messengers. To give an example of the kind of stunts they pull ... the night before this incident I was driving down a six-lane street in moderately heavy traffic. I was in the far right lane, preparing to make a right turn at the next intersection. A cyclist was in the lane to my left going straight. As we approached the intersection the light turned amber. I was already slowing down to stop when I had to go full force on the brakes because the cyclist cut straight in front of me ... so he too could make a right turn (this about a car length from the now-red light). When I followed him around the turn he was riding close to the gutter on my right, but just as I went to shift into second gear he cut across in front of me again (this time to the left) and I had to hit the binders hard again (and look in my rearview to see if someone was going to plow into me!). He continued swerving to the left, cutting off two cars coming the opposite way, both of whom had to also brake in an emergency fashion. The cyclist then completed his U-turn, ending up back at the intersection, whereupon he proceeded to make another right turn. In other words, all that--a right turn, a u-turn and another right turn, just so he wouldn't have to wait through a red light with the rest of the traffic. He nearly caused at least three accidents, all the while seemingly oblivious to the consequences of his actions. The entire time he had earphones in his ears, never once looked over his shoulder before changing lanes (there was no mirror on the bike) and of course he wasn't wearing a helmet. On the other hand, I find Toronto has the most polite panhandlers I've ever encountered in a large city :-)

  • Frizzlefry Frizzlefry on Sep 03, 2009

    The courier's bike was not damaged; by all accounts the courier himself was not harmed before he went for a ride with the car. So he was not hit, but cut off perhaps. If it were car vs car there may have been a middle finger displayed accompanied by a honk. But because bike couriers tend to be psychopaths, the cyclist went for him. Easy to do given that the guy was driving a convertible. The driver was instantly over-taken with fear and the fight or flight response took over. He flew. Not his fault the courier was trying to grab at him and held onto the car while he tried to get away. Should he have stopped? Yes. But the risk, and I dare say inevitability, of the courier assaulting him once he stopped compelled him to freak out and try to get him off the car. This is why I always drive with my doors locked and windows closed.

  • Daniel J. Stern Daniel J. Stern on Sep 03, 2009
    bike couriers tend to be psychopaths Yes, and it sort of makes me wonder what might happen if a bike courier were to get in an altercation with Jack Baruth. Would the both of them just disappear in a blinding blue flash and puff of smoke, or…?