I just bought a helmet. It’s something that I haven’t done in years. It’s not that I don’t trust myself; it’s that I don’t trust those around me on the road.

There’s a divide on Toronto’s downtown streets. It’s nothing new; it’s been here for awhile, incrementally gaining tension on both sides. Bikes versus cars, of course – that ongoing debate taking place on Toronto’s streets.

Now, not being partisan here, but I’m calling for a little centre-of-the-road pragmatism. As in, let’s just get along and share the road. A little old school working together, if you will. Because – and hold your bellowing cries naysayers – this, really, is a simpler issue than we’re making it out to be. That issue, simply enough, is respect.

There’s not enough of it on the roads. And that’s not only asinine, it’s dangerous.

There are a few facts at play here. Hundreds of people are being not only injured, but killed on Toronto’s streets annually due to bike and car collisions. (It was just released that Toronto has the highest cyclist and pedestrian deaths per capita in the country.) There are hundreds of thousands of cyclists on Toronto’s roads. Even more motorists. And we have really poor bike lane infrastructure in our city.

With all of this at play, there has always been this slight bit of animosity between the two groups. Why? Well, popular belief paints bikers as a holier-than-thou bunch that don’t abide the road laws, like stop signs. Motorists, on the other hand, are seen as road hoggers that don’t safely navigate the streets with cyclists, cutting them off at right hand turns, for instance. And with these broad strokes of stereotypes, tensions arise and respect diminishes.

That’s why I’m calling for a little respect.

Let’s get away from the partisan fighting. This isn’t one side versus the other side. This is about sharing the road and saving lives. Period. We’re a nation that is built of all walks of life, and as such, we need to continue to share the road.

And continue to wear a helmet.

–RYAN BOLTON

Written by Ryan Bolton

Ryan is a Toronto-based writer and photographer that likes to break the rules. His work has taken him around the world to do what he truly loves—storytelling. And drinking cold beer.