What did Mary-Margaret McMahon do wrong?

The National Post reports this morning that Toronto City Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon was recently struck by a car at Woodbine and Gerrard while she rode her bike. I feel terrible for her and hope she recovers quickly. The driver of the vehicle has been charged with careless driving, which seems about right, and his behaviour at the scene is shameful.

Of course, the Councillor is using her accident to advocate for more bike lanes in the city – you know how I feel about that, dear readers – but I won’t criticize Ms. McMahon about bike lanes during this difficult time.

Instead I just want to focus on her statement to the paper and suggest she did one thing wrong that may have led to the accident. Here’s her statement:

“I couldn’t have been closer to the curb without being on the sidewalk. I don’t take up a lot of space as it is, and I’m a highly cautious cyclist.”

By hugging the curb so closely, she tempted drivers to pass her on a very narrow road. She should have been further into the lane which would have forced drivers to veer into the other lane to pass her. It’s actually safer this way because the driver is forced to pay attention to the other lane of traffic as well as the cyclist.

Check out the Toronto Cyclists Handbook, ibikeTO, or the Ontario Cycling Guide for some good advice.


  1. Hey Steve! I love how you gave tips to Mary-Margaret McMahon for riding not so close to the curb, also good for me to know because I use Bixis sometimes (they’ve changed their name to BikeShare now eh?) Great job on having the most posts in our class by the way! 😀

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