Tension between taxi drivers and other road users grows after longboarder Ralph Bissonette’s death

Tension between taxi drivers and other road users grows after longboarder Ralph Bissonette’s death

(Image: Tom Purves) 

The battle for space and safety on city streets is making headlines again in light of the death of Ralph Bissonette, the longboarder who was struck and killed by a taxi on May 14. The cab driver involved, Adib Ibraham, has been charged with second-degree murder, and police say road rage may have been a contributing factor—emphasizing once again the acrimonious relations between the motorists, cyclists and skateboarders who share the roads (and who all accuse one another of rampant rule-breaking). Yesterday, the Toronto Sun talked to cab drivers, who attempted to repair the damage to their poor public image. They said that pedestrians, cyclists and boarders ignore traffic laws—making it more difficult than ever to navigate the streets safely. Cabbies also said that skateboarders should stay off the roads (while longboarders are technically supposed to remain on sidewalks, police rarely enforce that rule, and the difficulty of navigating around pedestrians often means longboarders opt to ride on the street instead). Several taxi drivers voiced concern that most Torontonians—including police—are biased against them, rarely siding with drivers during accidents or other incidents. Thomas Tuah, who’s been behind the wheel of a Toronto taxi for 37 years, told the paper, “We go through hell. The police don’t back us, no one does.” Along with their stated complaints, the xenophobic remarks from commentators on the article underscore just how much cabbies are contending with. Read the entire story [Toronto Sun] »