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400 Charges in Danforth Bicycle Blitz

Danforth cycle safety blitz nets 400 charges

By Joshua Freeman

April 15, 2010

Neighbourhoods: Danforth Village

Ride - Sat. Apr. 5, 2008 014While Scott Torrance got the ball rolling on the impending safety audit, others have also recently turned an eye to the troubled intersection at Broadview and Danforth Avenues.

The week of March 29, Toronto Police Service’s 54 Division conducted a bike safety campaign aimed at cracking down on both unsafe motorists and cyclists in the area.

“The results were 417 provincial offence tickets issued to cyclists. A lot of them were riding their bicycles across a pedestrian crossover, (some had) no bell or horn, and there were some traffic light violations, such as running into an intersection against a red,” said Sergeant Jack West, who led the campaign. “We charged one motorist with opening a door into oncoming traffic. A cyclist had to come to a screeching halt in order to avoid contact,” he said.

Via Town Crier

  • I’m fine with enforcing the law against cyclists, but there are a couple things I disagree with.

    First of all, I’m not sure I really agree with the “bell blitz”. Yes, I do have a bell, and yes I do use it regularly, but I’ve never seen the police setup a blitz to make sure every single car horn works (this would be the equivalent to the blitz where the police are making sure every cyclist has a bell). Secondly, your voice is usually a lot more effective than a bell to tell someone to watch out. In an emergency situation, it’s rare that I will have time to ring my bell.

    Having said that, it’s easy for cyclists to get a bell on their bike and comply to this law, so it’s easy to avoid getting a fine.

    The other thing that I’m really annoyed by is the fact that the police were ticketing cyclists for riding through the pedestrian crossover. If a cyclist rides through the pedestrian crossover negligently and puts pedestrians in some sort of danger, then I agree they should give this person a ticket. But sometimes, it is the safest way to cross an intersection, and if you are careful and if there aren’t too many pedestrians, you can do it safely and carefully and respectfully without dismounting your bike.

    In fact, I think there is even an intersection (Bloor/Sherbourne perhaps?) where cyclists are asked to cross the intersection in this fashion. A motorist turning right at an intersection is infinitely more dangerous for pedestrians in the pedestrian crossover area than any cyclist slowly riding through a pedestrian crossover. There’s also intersections where cyclists are forced to ride through the pedestrian crossover (if you’ve ever been to Strachan and Lakeshore, you’ll know what I mean).

    I hope the tickets they gave out were for reckless people, but knowing how these blitzes work, I would doubt that is the case.

    Agree? Disagree? Thoughts?

  • Personally, I think TPS is only doing cyclists a half-job here. If safety for all road users is the purpose of the blitz then education of cyclists should be as important as enforcement through ticketing. I wonder how many of the 400 that were ticketed actually knew what they were doing was in violation of the HTA prior to the ticketing? When we think of other blitzes such as drunk driving or seat belt use they were not only heavily enforced but also had a lot of attention dedicated towards education of the law and the consequences so why can’t TPS do the same here? When was the last time a public service announcement was made on why you should have reflectors on your bike or why a driver shouldn’t park in a bike lane?

  • leckyf

    Until the day someone (anyone!) can give us assurances that it’s perfectly safe to ride from the curb lane into a left hand turn lane, cyclists should be allowed to make this type of left hand turn. I try and use left hand turn lanes but there are times when it’s just not safe and other times when car drivers just won’t let you in and I’m very comfortable on the road! What about the cyclists without the same level of comfort?

    On the bell, I’ve used my bell here and there to alert people I’m coming but upon being ignored end up yelling at them (funny, they listen to that).

    On the whole, I’m just plain against “blitzes.” Just enforce the law, do your job…isn’t that what they’re getting paid for?

  • You are right James… it is Bloor and Sherbourne with the “indirect” left turn (going west on Bloor to south on Sherbourne). I use it every morning. I do still see some cyclists turning left “properly” (with car traffic), but mainly it’s couriers I see doing this, as most regular cyclists would not be comfortable with the speed of traffic in the eastbound approach to the intersection.

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