Toronto’s High Park has devolved into a battleground between police and cyclists as an ongoing ticketing blitz targets pedal-powered commuters for speeding, generating all kinds of controversy.
The latest in a long string of run-ins between cyclists and cops involes an officer who is alleged to have run a stop sign and struck a cyclist using a bike lane in the park, mere moments after issuing another bike rider a speeding ticket.
Last night while harassing people on bikes in #HighPark a @TorontoPolice officer hit a cyclist in a bike lane. The officer failed to STOP AT A STOP SIGN & yield the right of way. Sun was in his eyes apparently. Cyclist ok but property damage. Officer not charged @JohnTory #bikeTO pic.twitter.com/i0LJldK0kF
— The Biking Lawyer (Dave Shellnutt) (@TheBikingLawyer) August 3, 2022
An incident report reveals that the officer, Blain D. Young, is alleged to have struck the cyclist at 7:15 p.m. on Tuesday evening in High Park. The officer reportedly claimed that the “sun was in his eyes” and was not charged.
Marni Ugar, who witnessed the incident, tells blogTO that “He ticketed many who have never hurt anyone then, when he was leaving, texting and driving — he hit my friend on a bike.”
When she tried to confront the officer, Ugar says that he “wouldn’t even look at me when I was talking to him. His response was, ‘you’re being recorded.'”
Like others in the cycling community, Ugar is tired of what she characterizes as “bullying,” arguing that she “never sees speeding cars in High Park pulled over by police” or tickets issued for cars blocking bike lanes.
Ugar calls the ongoing blitz “a disgrace,” adding that police should “stop this bully mentality. We are being discriminated against.”
“Call these bullies off. I pay property taxes in Parkdale High Park, this is an embarrassment,” she said. “Where can recreational cyclists safely go? Who is hurting people, car drivers or cyclists? The officer punishing us hits one of us.”
Even when they don’t have to deal with cops, cyclists are now also facing abuse from random parkgoers, including an alleged assault on Monday where a rider was knocked off their bike by a stranger after allegedly running a stop sign.
This guy said I didn’t stop at Pacific + Bloor + he’s fed up with cyclists + decided to teach me a lesson. FFS. So he chased me along Bloor St + when I wouldn’t stop he came at me and grabbed my handlebars + forced me to stop. I ended up on the ground with my bike on top of me.
— Toronto Caroline (@TorontoCaroline) August 1, 2022
Only hours after the alleged assault, cops were right back at it, stopping cyclists and doling out tickets.
— The Biking Lawyer (Dave Shellnutt) (@TheBikingLawyer) August 2, 2022
For anyone else who dares go even one km/h faster than High Park’s posted speed limit of 20, you can expect a $110 ticket.
Got a nice $110 ticket for rolling a stop sign in high park from the Toronto Police, which I look forward to fighting. Glad to see @JohnTory and @TorontoPolice continue to prioritize the most important public safety issues in Toronto @TheBikingLawyer pic.twitter.com/nJ80LAxhJh
— Jeffrey Doucet (@jeffrey_doucet) August 2, 2022
blogTO has reached out to the Toronto Police Service for comment on the latest incident at High Park, but had not yet recieved a response at time of publication.