For the past two years, police have been ticketing cyclists in High Park for going over the 20km/h speed limit. The park is shared by pedestrians and runners, and some have complained to the city that riders are going much too fast, which ended up in a police response in 2020.
However, most cyclists have said that the rule is antiquated and needs an update. On some of the downhill sections it is impossible to go that slow unless your hands are on the brakes the whole time. Also, what if you don’t have a cycling computer? How would you know your speed?
After a man was ticketed for riding 26 in a 20, David Shellnutt, a.k.a The Biking Lawyer, has had enough and is lodging a formal complaint.
This follows last week’s “takeover” of the park where cyclists peacefully protested by riding laps around the course, and interacting with local park-users.
Toronto Mayor John Tory has fired back at the uproar about tickets.
“When I heard this debate going on with respect to why should anybody pay attention to any of this I thought well that would be great for a world in which there are only cyclists in High Park but there are other people there and we have to establish a safe balance between all those different activities and no group can have their rights supersede the rights of others,” Tory told CTV. “If somebody was to get struck by one of those cyclists travelling at a high speed and badly injured then what discussion would we be having about that? Some of you would be saying where were the authorities to ensure people wouldn’t be put at risk like that?”
Toronto police’s own database of Killed or Seriously Injured (KSI) collisions in the High Park area. How can anyone make the argument this is about road safety? https://t.co/Ng56bkEcNv pic.twitter.com/sV7Vq5XKS7
— MWCC (@midweekcycling) July 26, 2022
Shellnut told CP24 that the biggest problem is infrastructure has not been updated.
“We have some outdated infrastructure that’s been dropped here and people that it wasn’t designed for are having to navigate it,” he said, vis a vis the design of the park. “We want everybody to be safe and follow the rules of the road, of course, you know, within reason.”
Armed @TorontoPolice officers continue to harass cyclists in High Park. This person was ticketed for going 26 in a 20. All I feel is rage. #DefundThePolice. Make High Park car free: https://t.co/QRYICS8tAQ pic.twitter.com/fyLQaHIBqj
— The Biking Lawyer (Dave Shellnutt) (@TheBikingLawyer) July 25, 2022
What is more frustrating, Shellnutt said, is that police are focusing on “speeding” cyclists when just a block away there have been multiple collisions by drivers on pedestrians and cyclists that have killed or injured people.
“The fact that people are scaring pedestrians on the road, we don’t want that at all,” Shellnut added. “But what we do know is that the incidence of injury and serious injury caused by cyclists in the park pales in comparison to what happens just one street out here on Parkside Drive.”