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Police are hiding behind Bike Share Toronto signs to ticket cyclists

Cops have been doing blitzes around the city

Photo by: David Carpenter @CarpenterDac

The increased police presence when it comes to enforcing traffic laws for cyclists continued on Friday with police ticketing cyclists for rolling through stop signs on a quiet road in Toronto. The ticketing blitz took place on Shaw street, which is a popular road for cycling due to its increased infrastructure over the years. Since 2013, many changes have been made on the road to make it a safer street for cyclists to use north and south.

Since 2013, the city of Toronto has created a cycling-only block on sections of the road featuring planters, a Bike Share station, and signage. It has also upgraded the contra-flow bike lane, and changed the directional change of motor vehicle traffic flow as well as the adjacent street to reduce cut-through traffic.

The results of the upgrade have been positive. According to the city of Toronto, there was a 110 to 310 per cent increase of cycling trips after the installation. Furthermore, the peak cycling volumes include more than 4,300 cycling trips daily. There was also an eight to 60 per cent decreased of motor vehicle volume. The inspiration for Shaw street was based on the Dutch idea of the fietsstrat. Which is defined as “a residential road for motorized traffic that forms part of the main cycle network and which is identifiable as a bicycle street due to its design and layout, but has a limited volume of car traffic on it and that car traffic is subordinate to bicycle traffic.”

Police have been ticketing cyclists in High Park for riding over the 20 km/h speed limit this summer, as part of a crackdown on “dangerous riding” in the park.

Study shows Idaho stop improves cyclist safety

On Shaw street, many cyclist were utilizing the “Idaho Stop.” which is when a cyclist reduces their speed slightly, but rolls through the stop sign if they deem it safe. Despite many cycling advocates pushing for Idaho Stops in Canadian cities, the law still requires you to stop at stop signs, even if there is no traffic around.

Many are also pointing out that the riders who use Shaw Street, for the most part are not “Lycra-clad cyclists racing” but people in civvies riding to work or doing chores.

David Carpenter, the man who took the photo of the police officer ticketing riders, tweeted about it. “In the same week when multiple cars crashed into buildings, cops are out intimidating cyclists. We are not the problem!”