[messengers] Cyclist Darcy Allan Sheppard remembered

Date: 30 Aug 2010 13:11:22 +0200
From: Joe Hendry <messvilleto@xxxxxxxxx>

Cyclist Darcy Sheppard remembered 


Bike courier died a year ago after tangling with car of
former attorney general 



CBC, August 29, 2010


About 40 cyclists took part in a memorial ride in Toronto on Sunday for a man who died after an altercation
with former Ontario 
attorney general Michael Bryant. 


The riders said they hoped their gesture would help to
create safer streets. 


Darcy Allan Sheppard, a 33-year-old bike courier, grabbed
onto Bryant's car last Aug. 31 and died after falling from the moving Saab
convertible and striking his head on the pavement. 


Charges against Bryant were withdrawn in May, after
prosecutors concluded there was little chance of conviction. 


Richard Peck, an independent prosecutor from British Columbia brought in by the Ontario government to handle the case,
determined that an enraged Sheppard attacked Bryant and the former cabinet
minister was legally justified in trying to get away. 


Sonia Serba, a cyclist who helped organize Sunday's event,
said she wanted to remember Sheppard because his case is one of many
altercations between drivers and cyclists on the streets of Toronto . 


"Even on my way here, some lady driving an SUV wasn't
looking and nearly squashed me up against the curb," she said. "It's
high time the legal system started recognizing that cars are weapons and cars
can be used as weapons." 


She and some of the other cyclists at the ride suggested
that tougher laws for hitting cyclists, lower speed limits, and less parking on
city streets would help improve safety for bike riders. 


Sheppard's father, Allan Sheppard, travelled from Edmonton to join the
ride. He said he visits Toronto occasionally and
sees animosity between cyclists and motorists that he doesn't see in Edmonton . 



"The atmosphere is very toxic here between drivers and
riders — drivers and pedestrians too," he said. "I come from Edmonton which is the
Wild West, but if I step off the curb, traffic stops, but it doesn't here. And
that just carries over to cyclists." 


He said the past year has been hard, but his son had his
share of problems. 


Evidence showed Sheppard had a history of aggressive
behaviour against drivers, and had twice the legal driving limit of alcohol in
his blood at the time of the Bryant incident. He had also been in an
altercation with another driver a few hours earlier. 


Police said the fatal sequence of events began with a minor
collision on busy downtown Bloor
  Street that resulted in Sheppard clutching the
side of Bryant's car, in which the former attorney-general and his wife were
riding with the top down. 


Serba and another cyclist have released a music video on
YouTube that claims the charges against Bryant were dropped because of his
wealth and his ties to the law-enforcement establishment. 


But Bryant has said police and prosecutors did their job as
independently as possible, noting that "nobody is above the law to be
sure, but no one's below the law either." 


About 900 people have watched the video in the past two



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