On the morning of Wednesday March 29 2006, 46 year-old Andrzej Sacawa was riding his bicycle westbound on Burnhamthorpe Road over the Credit River bridge in Mississauga. His handlebars struck the railing, causing him to fall off his bicycle and over the railing to the river below. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.
This story struck a nerve with me for several reasons. The first time I rode my bike out there, I noticed the very low railing and thought to myself, "This is dangerous! How can this be part of the Burnhamthorpe Trail system?" Yes, this bridge with a railing that is only 38 inches high is part of a cycling route. The other reason why I was bothered with this incident is that the city of Mississauga seemed to put the blame on Mr. Sacawa for riding his bike on the sidewalk!
I rode along the Burnhamthorpe Trail to the Credit River Bridge to survey the scene. In my opinion, the "trail" provides cyclists a false sense of security by separating them from traffic, while funneling them onto sidewalks and over bridges with low guardrails.
Please click here to see my photos and read my commentary about this trail and bridge.
Advocacy for Respect for Cyclists (ARC) has followed up on the incident by holding a memorial, calling for a formal coroner's inquest, and demanding an apology from the city of Mississauga for creating a dangerous situation and blaming the cyclist for his own death.