We Should Have Seen Xavier Morgan's Death Coming #biketo

I've been thinking a lot about Xavier Morgan, the five-year-old who died while cycling the Martin Goodman Trail last week. When I was a kid, I cycled the Martin Goodman Trail, and I still do so today. In fact, I literally biked it today as I wanted to visit the spot where Xavier Morgan veered off the trail into eastbound traffic on Lake Shore Boulevard.

I've ridden this exact stretch with my older two children countless times, and never once was I concerned for their safety. After all, there are no cars on the Martin Goodman Trail. Your biggest concern is they'll be hit by other cyclists or ride into pedestrians. I never once considered the possibility they could end up on Lake Shore while riding west.

Here's a couple of photos I took today. Between the trail and boulevard there is only a foot or so of brick and concrete. There is absolutely no barrier, nothing to slow down or stop a child should they veer off course.

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And tragically, that's exactly what happened Wednesday. While cycling downhill, a child lost control and ended up on Lake Shore where it was too late for an eastbound driver to stop. In hindsight, such an accident seems inevitable.

A physical barrier is needed lest this happen again. The Martin Goodman Trail is incredibly popular with cyclists of all ages but far too close to the busy road on this particular downhill stretch.

I'm just sorry a child had to die to make this so damn obvious.


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Comments (13 - click here to join in!)

Rob J

Hard to think of a more Orwellian phrase than Toronto's "War on the Car." Seems like the *car* is doing pretty well.

May 28, 2017 @ 9:09 PM

Broni

This child has also been on my mind all this week, as I also ride that stretch of the MGT often...and just today I rode bikes (elsewhere) with my 8 year old daughter.
Your piece is perfectly written - the danger of that section might not have jumped out at me before, but yet now it seems so obvious in hindsight that this section was an accident waiting to happen.

May 28, 2017 @ 10:54 PM

Grammar Nazi

"I've RIDDEN...." or, "I rode...." :)

May 29, 2017 @ 8:50 AM

Gerald

You are right, we should have seen this coming. I have ridden this stretch years ago and driven by numerous times. I always knew it as a known hot spot for radar speed enforcement by the police. But the proximity of the trail to the road was allowed for all these years. Can't help but feel someone knew this was inevitable but the decision was made to let it remain as is. I know you cannot fix every potential safety risk but I think we can do a better job.

May 29, 2017 @ 11:34 AM

James Edgar

I must be living in a box i totally missed that 5 year old was killed on the MGT last week until this morning.

I had an incident just a little west of there many years ago when i used to commute from Mississauga daily.


You're right mike that accident seems a bit inevitable thinking about the area. a barrier there would make a lot of sense.

May 29, 2017 @ 11:45 AM

VanCity Irv


So what if you put up a barrier & the kid hits it, then flips over the barrier into the road? And that barrier looks a little more than a "foot". It looks about 3 feet.

I realize this is a tragedy but it's simply not possible to legislate and make everything safe. Looking at this from a security perspective (professionally)......

1. Why allow a child that age to ride along a road that is very busy and where people speed. The risk is substantial even WITH a barrier. She could fly over the barrier or hit the barrier and crush her jaw or skull even with a helmet on. Kids don't wear their bike helmets properly

2. Ontario drivers. I rarely visit Ontario (thankfully) but when I do I am shocked at the speeds with which people drive and the level of impatience. Police need to enforce speed limits. Calgary school zones are 30 kmph. You'll find that almost all people drive near 30 in those zones because the fines/points lost are high enough you pay attention.

May 30, 2017 @ 8:05 PM

Urooj Islam

I didn't even learn to ride my bike by the time I was 5, no idea why this kid was riding his next to such a busy road.

May 30, 2017 @ 8:44 PM

Abby

It makes no sense for parents to let their 5 year old child ride a bicycle next to a busy highway. It was the parents' responsibility to make sure that their 5 year old's environment is safe. A five year old should only be allowed to ride in a cul-de-sac (with a parent watching), or in a park (away from traffic). This is just plain common sense.

June 3, 2017 @ 11:53 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

So much judgment!

It's the Martin Goodman Trail. As I wrote in the post, I never even considered this risk until I heard about this terrible accident.

@All

Without a doubt, this stretch needs a barrier. There is now a temporary barrier in place and a permanent one on the way. This won't happen again.

June 3, 2017 @ 12:04 PM

Andrea

I'm so sorry that this little boy has died. My problem is that Lakeshore is a very busy street....VERY BUSY....why was this poor little boy allowed to ride his bike there? I feel so sorry for the family but the responsibility falls on their shoulders. We can't bubblewrap our children and we can't blame drivers who are unfortunate enough to hit a child who is too young to be riding their bike in a high traffic zone. I am heartbroken that this poor child has died but I feel more sorry for the poor driver that hit him. They will have to live with this for their entire life. And this poor family who lost their child will have to live with their poor decision.

June 3, 2017 @ 9:38 PM

Rob J

Can't wait for tragedy to hit my family, which will allow the masses to take to their keyboards and pronounce uneducated and ignorant judgments regarding the circumstances.

June 3, 2017 @ 10:17 PM

Wayner

The stuff I did; the chances I took on my bike as a kid alarms me as an adult today…
“…I've ridden this exact stretch with my older two children countless times, and never once was I concerned for their safety…”
I think this is probably most everyone’s sentiment. Unfortunately, it just takes one incident to show an unforeseen flaw. I’m sure that there are other areas of concern in TO that aren’t recognized until a similar tragedy coccurs.
This is quite a simply an unfortunate accident where no one is to blame

June 6, 2017 @ 11:57 AM

Surge

This is the parent's fault. Letting a 5 year old ride next to traffic is just dumb.
It's not about a barrier. Most bike lanes have NO barrier between the lane and traffic. Just putting a barrier on that stretch is not the solution.

Was the boy wearing a helmet?!

July 1, 2017 @ 2:38 PM

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