Run-In with Cop
I'm new to the forum and unfortunately, my first post is about a rather unpleasant experience I had this morning. I am pasting the contents of an email that I sent to Toronto Police as well as various municipal officials. The letter basically outlines the event. I look forward to hearing about other cyclists experiences with police.
It's not easy being a cyclist in this city. City Hall's loosey-goosey commitment to biking has provided much fewer bike routes than actually budgeted for. Still, I believe that cycling is the best way for me to get from my home in East York to my office in downtown Toronto - so every day I ride.
This morning I waited to make the left-turn that I make every day from Gerrard to the River Street bike-lane, only this morning there was a change - it seems a police officer has been installed to ensure that traffic stops while pedestrians cross. So, I waited for the pedestrians to cross and for the officer to lower his hand. Once he did, I proceeded with my turn. As I completed my turn and arrived in the southbound River Street bike-lane, the officer grabbed my torso - nearly causing me to fall off my bike. He then informed me that I had failed to yield to pedestrians to which I replied that I had been waiting for the pedestrians to cross and as soon as I saw his hand had lowered and the crosswalk was clear - I made my turn.
At this point he demanded to see my driver's licence and told me that "ass-hole" cyclists like me were exactly the reason that he has been assigned to the intersection. Meanwhile, in the time that he was writing my ticket - I observed people cycling on the sidewalk where we stood ... .children passed on bikes with no helmets ... a Canada Post truck parked on the sidewalk causing pedestrians to walk on the road to get past ... a schoolbus passed us using the bike lane to get around a car that was waiting to make a left turn ... I asked the officer if all of these things weren't perhaps more worthy of his attention and he told me not to tell him how to do his job.
Cycling in this city is a brutal and dangerous undertaking. Drivers are not required to understand the rules as they apply to bicycles and they clearly don't know what our rights are. Now, it seems that we have to worry about bored police officers using excessive force on us when they are pissed off about being assigned to crosswalk duty. I am not very happy about the fact that I was treated this way and I am even more frustrated at the amount of time I am going to have to waste fighting the $115 ticket that I was given. I don't have the time to be going to court over this.
The officer involved is named Officer Clayton - officer #7063 Platoon E Unit 51.
I look forward to hearing some feedback from city officials regarding this ridiculous issue.