Clampdown on dangerous cyclists

Police blitz puts brakes on red-light runners, bikers not using hands

Police officers fanned out across East York, Danforth Village and Woodbine Heights for a weeklong blitz to target cyclists and drivers violating the rules of the road.

Officers from 54 Division were specifically clamping down on cyclists who were not properly equipped or were ignoring traffic signals at intersections.

The five-day crackdown, launched at Broadview and Danforth avenues on Sept. 10, was meant to serve as a reminder to share the road, said traffic sergeant Jack West, who spearheaded the blitz.

By the end of the second day, police had issued 22 tickets for offences including failing to sport a bike horn or alarm bell, and failing to obey a red light signal. Police also ticketed a cyclist who was riding without hands on the handlebar, West said, adding few are aware cyclists are required under the Highway Traffic Act to keep their hands on the bike handlebars.

“If you hit a pothole, or you need to make an evasive move quickly, you’re going to be at risk,” West said.

Officers were also monitoring motorist behaviour to ensure cars weren’t interfering with cyclists’ safety.

“It’s very important that a driver of a car, when they arrive at an intersection, check all of their mirrors, do a double-shoulder check to make absolutely certain they’re not going to cross in front of a cyclist,” West said.

The police veteran noted the blitz was meant to serve as a preventive measure.

“I’ve learned what’s caused a lot of these injuries or death, and I feel it’s an onus on the police to come out and communicate that to the general public.”

“If they’re really aware of what’s causing accidents, they can help prevent it.”

West, who’s conducted three similar safety blitzes in 54 Division, says he’s seen improvements in cyclist behaviour. More cyclists use their bike lights at the appropriate times and effective hand-signalling to indicate movement.

“I’m quite impressed actually, with a lot of the cyclists. Things are getting better.”

On Sept. 27 from 8:30 to 11 a.m., West will lead a citywide campaign called Smart Walk, aimed at pedestrians who cross intersections while distracted by electronic devices.

About this article:

By: Karolyn Coorsh
Posted: Sep 24 2012 8:11 pm
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto