Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Longboarder dead after being struck by taxi

My condolences to the friends and family of Ralph Bissonnette. Bissonnette, 28, was struck and killed while riding his longboard on Monday night.

According to eye-witnesses, a taxi driver ran him over intentionally, in an incident of road rage. As a result, a 2nd degree murder charge has been laid against the driver.

Just like the last time, every skater in Toronto can mentally see it happening. We’ve all been in situations where there’s an unwanted interaction with a vehicle. What a tragedy. We are diminished in spirit from this loss.

March 2013: a 'Ghost board' remains 
I didn’t know Mr. Bissonnette personally. But it could have easily been any of us in that spot; it could have been any of our friends. We are together in grief.

Invariably I’ve read churlish comments in the media blaming the skater. Was he skitching? Is this like the Bryant case where there was a heated altercation beforehand?

I’m in the camp that believes -- perhaps naively -- that our streets are for more than just cars. Cyclists, skaters, streetcars, scooters, buses, and other alternate forms of transport all belong in a thriving urban environment. We are legitimate parts of downtown traffic.

Yes, it can be risky. Everyone -- drivers and skaters alike -- must always pay attention to what is going on around them. And there’s never a situation that calls for deliberately running someone over with a car. That’s just wrong.

Skate friends -- skate safe! Be wary. Be strong.

Mr. Bissonnette: may you rest in peace.

VIGIL on Wednesday May 16, 6-7pm: King and Jarvis

See also
Grappling With Another Longboarding Death
Our first longboarding tragedy
Is skateboarding illegal in Toronto?
We Are the Traffic

News coverage (with varying accounts of what happened):
CBCGlobe and MailToronto SunNational PostCityTV

We are all Ralph Bissonnette (remarks from the vigil)