On Friday, June 26th, between 9:15 am and 11:00 am, I was travelling Harbord, College, St.George and Wellesley Streets keeping a committment I made to a cyclist that I would do some enforcement on illegally parked cars in the bike lanes.
I have to admit, it was nice to make the time to do some enforcement and get back to writing tickets and educating drivers and cyclists alike face to face.
Enforcement Results for my time = 2 Parking tickets, 7 cautions for parking in lanes, 1 caution for wrong way on one way street, 1 caution for stop sign offence.
Before I get crucified for cautioning drivers parked in the bike lanes, here is why I didn't feel the need to arrest them for criminal negligence, as some cyclists have suggestd we do.
-pulling up to the car/truck and asking the driver to move to a side street, stay out of the bike lane and tell them the danger they are causing to a cyclist and other traffic = 15 seconds
-making them wait for the parking ticket = 2 minutes
Problem is cleared faster, education is given and the chance for the driver to pay a little more respect is increased.
Caution for the wrong way? A cyclist on Richmond Street who was in the south lane travelling towards Spadina when I came around the bend aimed right at her. We had a discussion about the problem she was causing and the risk to her personal safety. She vounteered to walk her bike to Spadina on the sidwalk....great move!
Caution for stop sign offence? Liberty Village...2 cyclists WB at Hanna, one slows almost coming to a stop, the other slows and comes to a stop. One cyclist earned my respct as a road user sharing in safe and responsible riding habits, the other cyclist insulted the first and drew my attention by not stopping.
Were there more offences that happened...I am sure there were. While I was on College someone was probably illegally parked on Wellesley and while I was talking to a driver on Harboard there was probably a delivery truck on College.
The most frustrating event of my limited time out there was the following.
I was driving EB on Harboard coming up to Euclid and I could see a pedestrian that was about to cut between two parked cars right into the path of a cyclist. I created some space to allow the cyclist a place to move and when I was about to hit my horn, I heard a bell ringing...it was the cyclist!! The pedestrian also heard it and held fast between the cars instead of coming out.
I was impressed with this cyclist who saw what was happening and had the equipment to attract the attention of the ped. We approached Bathurst, where there were three cars waiting to turn right. There was enough room for this same cyclist to push her way up the curb and go beside the traffic but instead, she stopped behind the last vehicle and waited.
I pulled along side to compliment her on the skill and awareness she was showing and she ignored me!!
I said my words louder and then noticed she was wearing ear buds and couldn't hear me!!! ARRGHHHH!!! Not the smartest thing to do when you need to hear what is around you for safety reasons.
Then as this was happening along came a rider who went from the road, to the sidewalk to move around all the stopped traffic, passed a TTC shelter with a person waiting in it, got to Bathurst and turned right down Bathurst...this left me shaking my head. Which cyclist is earning respect and which one is remembered by drivers?
I know that cyclists will scream at this next part but here is the reality. I never saw one car driving on the sidewalk, nor go through a red light, nor go through a stop sign or drive the wrong way on a one way street. I did see bicycles on the sidewalk, going the wrong way, go through stop signs...thankfully, no red lights though.
Prior to the cycling campaign the TPS had issued over three hundred thousand tickets with less than nine hundred going to cyclists. I would hardly call this a fact that cyclists are targetted or that there are sting operations to go after cyclists. Are the numbers going to increase...sure they are; nicer weather, more cyclists and this campaign will see to that.
So cyclists, lets try an experiment. For one week everyone stay off sidewalks, obey all the rules of the road, have and use all the required equipment...essentially act like a responsible road user and see if drivers take notice and give you more respect.
Keep up your demands for the legislative changes you desire but until those changes occur, obey the laws that exist. Make it so that drivers are suprised when you don't obey the rules of the road as opposed to being unphased by it. Earn the respect as opposed to demand it.