‘It’s time to declare a state of emergency’: Anger, calls for change follow deaths on Toronto streets

Toronto is being urged to declare a state of emergency after the death of a 58-year-old cyclist, the latest in a wave of fatalities on city streets this week.

“Tragedy on Toronto’s streets, again,” Jennifer Keesmaat, the city’s former chief planner, wrote in a series of tweets reacting to the woman’s death.

“It’s too much to take. It’s unbearable. It’s time to declare a State of Emergency, and immediately begin with the basics. First step is to lower speed limits and enforce them. The game playing — pretending we don’t know what to do — must stop,” she wrote.

In a grim day of announcements Tuesday, Toronto police reported the deaths of three cyclists or pedestrians in three separate incidents.

A cyclist was killed riding in the Annex at about 12:40 p.m. Tuesday when she collided with a flatbed truck at Bloor St., W. and St. George St. The driver remained on the scene.

Toronto police also announced Tuesday the death of a 36 year old cyclist who was hit on May 15 on Lake Shore Blvd. He died from his injuries last week.

Police are still looking for the hit and run driver who killed a woman at Briar Hill Ave. and Dufferin St. on Monday at 3 p.m.

Since the unveiling of Vision Zero two years ago Wednesday — a plan to reduce traffic deaths to zero by 2021 — 93 pedestrians or cyclists have died on the streets of Toronto, according to data compiled by police and the Toronto Star.

At a Wednesday morning news conference, Mayor John Tory responded to a chorus of calls for more action on the city’s Vison Zero plan.

“As I said yesterday and I repeat today all the things that gives me sleepless nights and has me needing to see us do more it is this matter of people dying on the streets in safety related incidents that take lives of cyclists and pedestrians,” he said.

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