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Should the Ontario Police have shared this video of a cyclist being ticketed?

The controversial Twitter post caused some to question whether the ticket should even have been issued

Photo by: Twitter/OPP_CR

On Mar. 20, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) official Twitter account posted a video of a cyclist in Caledon, On. riding past a stop sign without stopping.  The video shows the police vehicle turning on its sirens and chasing down the cyclist. As the cyclist moves into the road to avoid the vehicles parked in the bike lane, the 32 second clip ends with the car and bike pulling over to the side of the road.

“Myth: Cyclists don’t need to stop at stop signs. Fact: Cyclists must obey all traffic signals and signs just like a motorist. $110 fine but no demerit points. #cyclesafe #sharetheroad #CaledonOPP #wehearyourconcerns @YourCaledon,” says the Tweet.

More dangerous

Walker road, the suburban Caledon East street where the cyclists was ticketed, was completely empty of other road users when the OPP officer issued the ticket. Many comments on the original video argued that the cyclist was not acting dangerously.

According to Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act (HTA), bicycles are considered to be a vehicle which requires its operator to stop and identify themselves if charged with committing a driving infraction. The are are a number of fines cyclists can be charged with, many of which are increased in specified community safe zones.

In this instance, many argued that the police car was endangering more lives by speeding through the stop sign in a 40km/h zone than the cyclist who actually committed the infraction.

On the other hand, others commended the police for doing the work to stop irresponsible cyclists who hold automobile drivers at their mercy.

Idaho stop

The tweet prompted calls to implement the ‘Idaho stop’, a law that allows cyclists to treat a stop sign as a yield sign, and a red light as a stop sign. According to a 2021 study, the “Delaware yield” law, which allows cyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs, caused a 23 per cent reduction of injuries at stop-sign controlled intersections.

In response to the backlash, the OPP says that it posts “numerous videos about motorists not stopping,” and that, “all road users must take responsibility for their driving behaviour.” For some, the response was not enough.