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 His supervisor has reviewed the situation and the charge will be withdrawn” -Constable Scott Mills Toronto Police Corporate Communications Social Media Officer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
0:15 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