Memorial ride held to honour cyclist fatally struck by truck in Leslieville

Members of Toronto’s cycling community came together Wednesday to take part in a memorial bike ride in honour of a fellow cyclist who was killed in Leslieville last week.

Fifty-four-year-old Douglas Crosbie was travelling west on Dundas Street at around 8 a.m. on May 16 when he was struck by the driver of a truck who attempted to turn right on Jones Avenue.

He was rushed to hospital but died shortly after.

On a warm and sunny Wednesday, dozens of cyclists came out to remember one of their own. The group travelled an eight kilometer route – mimicking one Crosbie would often take – before ending at the site of the crash.

After the ride, a “ghost bike” was fastened to a signpost at the intersection as a reminder of Crosbie’s life and the risks cyclists face in the city.

Sunflowers were tied around the white-painted bicycle and pictures of Crosbie were posted nearby.

His widow, Christine Crosbie, said she met her husband while they were both in journalism school.

They were three weeks away from celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary when he died. 

“He always did the right thing, you know? He was someone who knew how to do the right thing, and riding to work in Toronto is the right thing to do. If you can, it’s good for traffic, it’s good for the environment (and) it’s good for your health. I think he did it for all of those reasons,” she told CP24.

Crosbie said she was shocked by the number of people who came out to participate in the memorial ride and said her husband would’ve been too.

"I think it’s wonderful. I don’t think he would ever believe that this many people would come out in his honour,” she said. “I know it’s for a greater good – to raise awareness about bicycle safety and the need for better paths and better infrastructure – but I don’t think he would think so many people would come out… He wouldn’t have expected it. It’s quite lovely.”

This morning’s ride was organized by Jeffery Beckarach, an advocate with the Advocacy for Respect for Cyclists group.

Beckarach said the fear of being injured on the road as a cyclist has grown.

“There’s just nothing on the books now that can make me encourage someone to ride on the streets,” he said. “I would love to encourage people to ride but unfortunately the fear is keeping a lot of cyclists off the streets. There are a lot of us and we’re not actually able to ride because we’re afraid.”

He added that “vulnerable road users” such as cyclists and pedestrians need to look to city policy makers to increase safety on the roads.

“I think a lot of neglect is part of the city’s problem,” he said. “I think there’s not enough rules being enforced, there’s not enough laws protecting cyclists and also pedestrians. Vulnerable road users are really important and we need laws to protect all people using all the roads, not just motorists.”

In the hours following Crosbie’s death, Ward 30 Councillor Paula Fletcher criticized the busy intersection, saying the bike lane markings were faded and outdated. She vowed to bring up a motion at council about improving the markings.

“It’s poorly painted,” she said at the time. “There’s no green paint, there’s nothing that tells a truck driver that they’re coming to a bike lane intersection.”

The investigation into the crash is ongoing and police have not said whether the driver, who remained on the scene, will face any charges.

A celebration of life will take place for Crosbie later this afternoon. He is survived by his wife Christine and children Marina and Davis.