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Protest against attempts by former MPP to repair image after cyclist death

bike activists angry over Bryant's memoir

by Tim Groves

Photos by Martin Reis
Photos by Martin Reis
Photos by Martin Reis
Photos by Martin Reis

On September 5th, over 50 people gathered outside the Toronto Reference Library to protest a book launch by former MPP Michael Bryant. They claim his memoir is part of a PR campaign to repair his image after cyclist Darcy Allan Sheppard was killed in a August 31st 2009 altercation with Bryant, who was driving at the time.

 

Bryant’s book, entitled "28 Seconds", deals with the 28 seconds that lead to Sheppard's death and the impact it had on Bryant's life. He read from the book to a private audience in an event organized by the Globe and Mail.

 

Outside the library, bicycle activists set up tombstones bearing Sheppard's name, each one had a flower placed in front of it.

 

"He is blaming everyone for what happened but himself. He blames the car, he blames Darcy, he blames the police for doing a shoddy job, but he won't take responsibly himself," said Derek Chadbourne, who helped organize the protest.

 

"He says he wrote the book to make amends, but he wrote this book to pave his way back into politics" asserted Chadbourne.

 

Bryant, a former Attorney General of Ontario, was arrested the same night.  However, in May 2010, all charges against Bryant were dropped.

 

"The fact he didn't have his day in court is insulting. It is insulting to Al and it is also insulting to the people of Ontario who want justice" said Chadbourne."

 

He explained that the protesters were not calling for the book to be banned, but were calling for a boycott of the book.  As for their belief that the book is paving the way for Bryant to re-enter politics, Chadbourne added, "we will do our best to make sure he doesn't have a political career again."


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282 words

Comments

Slight revision. ( :-)

Bryant had already left provincial politics, and was working for the city when the slaying occured.

Thanks for your interest.

This article does not claim

This article does not claim otherwise, it says "former MP" and "former attorney general". And if you think that city politics is insulated and totally from provincial politics, i have some swampland in florida i'd like to sell 'ya. 

Thanks for your sarcasm, Megan.

Perhaps the possibility that the article has been corrected since I pointed out the factual error has escaped you, eh?

But thanks for your feeble attempt at humour here. I'm sure the dead man's family appreciates it.

 

 

I'm pretty sure I saw this

I'm pretty sure I saw this article as soon as it came out. Perhaps when you are writing articles about someone who hired a top PR firm they have right-wing commenters casting factual aspersions on the content of the article.  

Michael Bryant

Mr. Bryant has the same protection under law as ALL other Canadians which includes the PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE. Except of course among some wigged out cyclists who are on the warpath against Mr. Bryant and who offer zero proof of their contentions, allegations, and outright judgements against Mr. Bryant and who have zero idea of what actually happened because not a single one of them was there to witness the events.

As it happens there was a witness, an American tourist, whose vehicle and person was attacked by Mr. Sheppard in a rage just before the incident with Mr. Bryant. This American visitor to Toronto was willing to come and testify in court. His testimony would have been that Mr. Sheppard, who had a long history of alcohol and drug abuse and violent outbursts, attacked him and his vehicle just prior to attacking Mr. Bryant's vehicle.

This is far from the only incident of unbalanced bikers failing to obey road rules and laws and getting violent for no apparent reason. In fact I was attacked in a similar fashion when a cyclist who was rding along a sidewalk, whizzing dangerously past pedestrians leaped off of his bicycle and ran in front of my vehicle, as I was attempting to make a right turn and was slowly inching ahead from the position of the stop sign so that I could see the oncoming vehicles, and threw his barely rideable old bicycle against the front of my vehicle which bounced back off of the front of my vehicle, damaging it, and struck him. He then proceeded to go ballistic on me!!

I have witnessed many bicycle riders attempting to make right hand turns while pulled up beside a motor vehicle which was also making a right turn and was there prior to the cyclists showing up at the intersection. Regardless of the fact that this manoeuver is illegal for any road vehicle - including cyclists - and extremely dangerous. Several similar incidents which ended tragically for the cyclists have occured in Toronto over the last few years. Have cyclists learned anything - NO! This is still a very common tactic for cyclists to split the single curb lane into two and attempt to pass or turn or speed through a red light - all very dangerously and illegally. Which aparently makes zero difference to some angry and psychologically disturbed cyclists, many of whom lacked the required safety equipment. Cyclists riding dangerously and disobeying all vehicular laws and road rules are a daily occurance in Toronto.

Toronto cyclists should b e licenced and a vehicle licence should be required to ride on major streets and in the downtown area. In addition there should be traffic cameras installed at all downtown intersections which record the traffic and which can be used in charging and convicting illegal cyclist activity.

Unfortunately Mr. Sheppard had a history of anti social behaviour, drug and alcohol abuse and very recent violent abuse of other motor vehicle drivers prior to his incident with Mr. Bryant. Mr. Sheppard provoked this incident and his manic actions led directly to the tragic events which ultimately led to his death.

Excoriating Mr. Bryant with zero proof and unnatural explosive anger, instead of contending for more cooperative law abiding cycling specially in congested and potentially dangerous streets - which could lead to a resolution of such regrettable accidents, is simply irrational and an example of irresponsibility on the part of the cycling community.

My advice is grow up, leave your anger at home (it has no place on the road), obey all laws and rules of the road and cycle safely. Only this, along with registration of cyclists and their bicycles and intersection cameras will solve this problem. However it seems like there are at least a few dozen cyclists who take their anger out on other vehicles and drivers while on our downtown roads; so it is unlikely that these sad events will end anytime soon.

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