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death on Bloor Street

A horrifying experience today – at noon, I was cycling merrily along Bloor Street on my way to U of T, congratulating the city on the newish bike lanes there, when, only a few hundreds yards from OISE where I teach on Tuesdays, I came upon a ghastly scene: ambulance, police, fire engines screaming in the distance, a crumpled bicycle, a helmet on the ground, a form covered with a yellow cloth, a paramedic unpacking a long canvas bag. A body bag.

I wept with shock and horror. The city and its drivers are slaughtering cyclists and pedestrians – careless driving, texting, speeding, lack of policing, lack of enough safe bicycle infrastructure. After class at 3, Bloor Street was still shut down. All we know is that the cyclist was a middle-aged woman struck by a truck which was turning. She must have been in the bike lane with her helmet on, just as I was. If I’d been there a few minutes earlier, it would have been me.

When I spoke later to a policeman nearby, he said, “It’s happening too often.” No kidding. “Cars and trucks go too fast,” I said, and he nodded, but said, “The truck was turning, so speed may not have been an issue here.” As I started to ride off, he said, “Be careful.”

The issue here is that a woman got up on June 12 2018, put on her helmet, headed out on her trusty bike into this heavenly late spring day, and was killed. My ride home after class today was extra slow, and I was extra conscious of the sunshine, the smell of flowers and gasoline, the waft of wind, the warmth of sun on my skin, how lucky to still be here on this flawed, extraordinary planet.

The class itself was particularly meaningful, a group of brave students telling their deepest truths. Intense and inspiring.

Tonight, I go to see Paul Simon at the Air Canada Centre. The last tour of one of the best songwriters of his generation, second only to Bob Dylan and You Know Who.

On Sunday, I watched the Tony Awards, grateful to ever have been part of that dazzling world.

The first rose is out, the first (and only) peony, the lavender, the gardenia with seven gorgeous white blossoms wafting scent, the birds filling the garden with song – and I am alive to see and smell and hear and feel.

As the fridge magnet Wayson gave me says, “It doesn’t get better than this.”

While I celebrate life, I mourn you, dear fellow cyclist, and those who lost you today.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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