Toronto Police have backtracked after five squad cars showed up to incorrectly issue a ticket to a cyclist for riding on the road instead of in a bike lane.

One officer originally pulled the cyclist over for riding outside of the bike lane. When the cyclists argued that this was entirely legal, the officer then called for backup. Four more squad cars arrived to support the first officer as he issued the cyclist a ticket as a crowd of onlookers and several witnesses gathered around the scene. After much delay, the cyclist was given a ticket for interfering with traffic.

The entire 13 minute interaction was caught on camera by the cyclist and by a passing pedestrian, and posted on Toronto Cycles YouTube channel. The interaction gets heated at times, with the officer and cyclist yelling at each other and the irritated cyclist occasionally swearing and hurling insults at the officers for pulling him over for doing something that is not illegal.

The official Toronto Police Service account responded to the video supporting the officers actions, though they were incorrect: “The officer acted in good faith. He made an error in the charge. His supervisor has reviewed the situation and the charge will be withdrawn” -Constable Scott Mills Toronto Police Corporate Communications Social Media Officer

The video is long, so here’s a play-by-play breakdown of the entirely odd scene to help you fast forward to any parts you might find interesting. At several points in the video, the screen displays the text of relevant laws. These are difficult to read in the video, but are helpfully linked in the description of the original Toronto Cycles video.

Time: 0:05 Cast and characters

0:10 Prologue

0:15 Audio of conversation while relevant traffic laws display on screen in print too small to read

0:30 Officer Lee makes his first appearance

0:31-0:49 Much loud arguing

0:50 Officer asks cyclist to pull over off the road

1:03 More too-small-to-read screen shots of traffic laws display on screne

1:05 Officer calls for backup

1:07 Cyclist calls officer coward for requesting backup to deal with a single cyclist

1:20 Officer explicitly explains that he’s pulled the cyclist over for riding on the road instead of being in a bike lane

1:30 Cyclist asks if officer had dash cam on, which officer confirms he did

1:40 Cyclist asks if he’s free to go, officer tells him he is not free to go.

1:44 Cyclist asks the officer to let him know when he’s free to go. Several times.

2:00 More screen shots of traffic laws

2:00-2:30 Basically just the cyclist repeating,”Let me know”

2:35 Cyclist explains situation to off-camera passers-by

3:00 Cyclist repeatedly calls officer a coward

3:30-3:40 Four backup squad cars arrive on scene with lights and sirens on, parking across an adjacent intersection

3:50 Several officers are out of their squad cars. Cyclist commends them for being “Real heroes” with a notable lack of sincerity

4:00 Officer Lee again explains he has pulled over the cyclist for not riding in the bike lane

4:30 Cyclist responds he can be “in any lane.”

4:35 Backup officer can be heard off-camera confirming riding on the road is not against any law

4:45 Another backup officer gestures original officer to step away from the scene

5:00 Cyclist starts asking for supporting officers names and badge numbers, which they provide, then calls one a “dickhead”

5:55 Audio goes silent as cyclist states his own name

6:10 Supporting officer asks cyclist what he was doing, and the cyclist reviews scenario. As part of his explanation, he starts slapping the original officer’s sideview mirror. A third responding officer starts yelling at him for doing this, confirms the cyclist will be issued a ticket. It’s still unclear for what offense.

6:40 Original officer moves his cruiser off the road and parks it in the adjacent bike lane.

7:00 Cyclist repeatedly shouts at the officer to “Hurry up” with writing his ticket

7:05 More screen shots of relevant laws

7:10-7:50 Kind of slow bit. No one yells for an entire 40 second stretch

8:10 Cyclists thanks the surrounding crowd for watching, and for their support

8:40 An officer off camera takes a more tactful approach and asks the cyclist more about how he was pulled over in the first place

9:10-9:40 Not much happens

9:50 Cyclist describes the officers to a passer-by with several colourful insults.

10:00 Cyclist chats with an off-camera about maybe visiting B.C. in the future

10:20 Another off-camera pedestrian offers to fill the cyclists water bottle with ice. He accepts appreciatively.

10:30 After a period of relative calm, cyclist again shouts at original officer asking if he’s done writing his ticket, which he has been writing for over five minutes at this point.

10:40 The original officer closes his cruiser window in response

11:20 Several cyclists pass the officers, cyclist, and cruiser vehicle, riding in the traffic lane, since the officer has parked his car in the bike lane

11:30 Officer Lee steps out of his car, hands cyclist a ticket for “Interfering with traffic”

11:50 Video switches to a pedestrians camera phone, asking one of the responding officers to explain how the cyclist was interfering with traffic and what law he was breaking. The cyclist can be heard shouting various things in the background.

12:20 Supporting officer defends first officer’s decision to issue the cyclist a ticket, though he won’t say what law was broken

13:00 Witness can be heard off camera saying she saw the police cruiser pass close to the cyclist at the start of the incident

13:25 Three of the officers names and salaries are displayed on the screen

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25 Comments

  • yes says:

    i agree i believe bikes should not be allowed in the city.

    • Adam Lawton says:

      What city do you think you live in? Hate to break it to you, but bicycles are a normal part of traffic here in Toronto, and have been for a long time.

      And I’m both a cyclist and a driver. Get over yourself.

      And maybe while you’re at it, consider what traffic would be like if everyone had a car. It’s bad enough already.

      • Amy Frueh says:

        Here, here! Bikes relieve city traffic congestion, area better for the environment, reduce the amount of parking spaces needed, and keep cyclists fit and healthy (reducing the burdon on our healthcare system)!
        Plus, cycling is waaaaay more fun than driving!
        Sincerely, another cyclist and driver

      • kameko says:

        Cyclists and cars belong on the road together, just NOT in Toronto where cycling infrastructure is absolutely terrible. The exponential rise of pedestrian/bicycle/motorcycle/etc accidents in this city demonstrates this. Hell, this city can barely support its own car traffic.

        People are fighting for the wrong shit. Bicycles are not ‘normal’ part of Toronto traffic and never will be until infrastructure to keep both driver and bicycles safe are in place, and that is basically going to be never thanks to completely ineffective government (we’re talking ALL parties here). The whole idea that a bicycle has the right to an entire car lane is ludicrous. This only placates a bicyclists rights, but does NOTHING except endanger their own lives. It makes no sense that bicycles are supposed to be vehicles of the road and yet require absolutely NO mandated knowledge of these rules.

        I would LOVE to be able to safely ride a bicycle in this city but it really isn’t feasible right now.

        Transportation in this city doesn’t work. Toronto was just recently shown as the WORST city in all of North America for traffic. Public transportation is painfully slow and expensive. Obviously car traffic is terrible. Motorcycles would be a great alternative but you can’t even lane filter here. So whats the point?

    • Graham Comeau says:

      Maybe you shouldn’t be allowed be in the city

    • Alan says:

      most people are not qualified to drive a car, having these people endangering lives of everyone around them with their terrible driving and lack of confidence is worse for the city. Cars should be not allowed in the city except for transporting goods. get a self powered method of transportation and go green and get healthy.

    • Love Hz says:

      Lol, I think you shouldn’t be allowed in the city.

  • Michel Charette says:

    “The officer acted in good faith. He made an error in the charge. His supervisor has reviewed the situation and the charge will be withdrawn” Right! The so-called officer handled the whole situation wrong! What the heck did he call backup for?
    Most cops are bullies, who think that the have the right to lord it over anyone.

  • Mikhail says:

    Not only didn’t the officer know traffic laws, he felt his ignorance justified calling a backup so that 5 police cars altogether were busy dealing with nothing – what use of taxpayer’s money. 2 things against common sense to me – 1) if you don’t know the laws well – let the guy go and read the book to know next time; 2) if you call for a backup – make sure not all the police in the city arrives to help you.

  • Nullifidian says:

    Maybe the police service has got wind (or were even consulted) about a Doug Ford plan banning cyclists from using city roads? I believe Rob Ford wanted to do that. They just acted too enthusiastically.

    • nun3r says:

      Rob Ford was Mayor of Toronto, Doug is premier of Ontario. I’m sure he’s really giving a fuck about what cyclists are doing on Toronto roads.

  • Michael says:

    I happen to drive in the city quite a bit, as well as ride my bike. Almost daily I feel like cyclists endanger themselves when they unexpectedly and without shoulder check move from the bicycle lane to the roadway and back again to pass a slower cyclist in the bicycle lane. Even worse, often the individuals are wearing headphones so they can’t hear if there is a vehicle approaching from behind in their blindspot. Done safely I don’t have a problem with the manoeuvre, and to my knowledge it is perfectly legal. The roads are for everyone. Safety begins with everyone. I’d bet that there is more to this story, but the camera wasn’t on when that happened.

  • Val says:

    Let’s not forget that this is Not just a cycling issue. The unlawful detention of black people and poc is prolific in Toronto. I bet that would be half the reason why this officer decided, that out of all of the cyclists riding in regular car lanes, he would pull over this individual.

  • Andrei Shimmy says:

    Looking at this cyclist attitude and ignorance , I am not srp that the city of Toronto recently experience a spike of pedestrians and cyclist fatalities. However, I am surprised and deeply disappointed that Toronto Police decided to give in again to drop the charges before they are tested in court pf law.

    • Just says:

      He didn’t break any laws. No need to rest anything in court. Stop with the hate. He might have been loud and confrontational but his rights were being violated. It was his way of standing for his rights.

  • tired of dumb people getting paid, especially men. this is a new stupid.

  • Jeff D says:

    It was not one officer that was wrong.. but five! And that is bad.

  • When you see these assholes in their faggoty bike shorts whizzing in and out of traffic broom sticks should be legal.

  • Years ago I took the test to become a cop. I passed the test. Maybe that was why I was never hired.

  • Bob Ford says:

    I laugh when a cyclist dies when he’s riding in the road with a bike lane right there. It’s no even remotely sad.

    • Just says:

      You have issues. Learn to be a human being and have empathy. Those cyclists are people also. It could have been someone you love. Would you laugh then? Grow up you idiot!

  • Cowards? Why doesnt that punk go get badge and head down to Sherbourne and Dundas for a gun call. Lets see who’s the coward. Punk.

  • Mary says:

    Bike-rider and car-owner here. I’ve been on both sides: as a cyclist I have been doored, terrorized by a van full of hooligans while riding alone, and hit by a streetcar and taken to hospital by ambulance. All while following all rules of the road. As a car-driver I’ve almost hit rule-ignoring cyclists who blithely weave about the road regardless of traffic lights, lanes, pedestrians, and more. IMO, this video is cautionary tale in how not to behave when wronged. The officer was wrong about the law but not antagonistic, disrespectful or aggressive. His mistake was he was mistaken. The guy, although wrongfully stopped, was all of the above. ON the ledger of human foibles, though I certainly sympathize with his frustration, and probably would have reacted with similar tendancies, I think the cyclist committed more.

  • Try that in Ferguson, buddy says:

    He would have been Tased or shot by the cops in most any American city for being so very NON-obsequious (and they would have charged you with resisting arrest, assault of a police officer, obstruction of justice and whatever else they could come up with). Be grateful you’re in Canada, dude.

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