Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Response to quote from "dooring article"

The reporter who wrote the story originally contacted me asking a question about the reporting procedures of a bicycle vs. car collision.   I asked for details but the reporter refused to divulge much information and what was given was vague, he had indicated that the collision occurred a few weeks ago. He stated that the officer that attended had said "I am putting this in my memobook but it will never see the light of day". I asked for details such as location, injuries and name of the involved individual or badge number of the officer, so that I could check on the call and the find out the particulars of the event.

The reporter only gave me basic information indicating that the involved individual was a "friend" and didn't want to divulge the cyclists name as he wasn’t trying to get anyone in trouble or make a report; he had indicated the door was opened by a youth in the left rear of the vehicle.

I confirmed Toronto Police Service procedures and told the reporter that the incident did not fit the definition of a collision as per the definition of a collision determined by the Ministry of Transportation (MTO).  I also indicated that the Motor Vehicle Collision Report would not be completed because the vehicle involved was a stationary automobile, in park.  All Ontario Police Services follow the definition of a collision as determined by the MTO and as a result a motor vehicle collision report (MVCR) would not be created regardless of where the collision occurred in Ontario.

Police normally attend these incidents as the call for service is usually listed as a personal injury collision, when police arrive they take notes about the occurrence and determine if a collision has occurred, once the determination is made an MVCR would be submitted if necessary, however if an MVCR is not necessary an incident report may be taken in its place.  Charges may be laid by the officer if they believe on reasonable grounds the offence occurred and the officer decides to lay a charge based on the information that they receive, an MVCR is not required if a charge is laid.

If an incident report is taken it is then filed with the Toronto Police Service databases, however the occurrence doesn't get identified or catalogued by the specific event (such as bicycle vs. car).  This would be the same situation if a cyclist struck a light standard, tree, another cyclist or a pedestrian.

I explained that when an MVCR is created, the form has over 100 questions that need to be answered and that information is tracked because the information is entered directly into a program dedicated to the function of tracking that information.

Any incident involving a car and bicycle where the injuries are determined to be life-threatening or result in a death, protocols come in to effect which involve the Collision Reconstruction Team taking forensic measurements of the scene and a full investigation of the cause, location and anything else that is deemed to be required at the time.

In the end this incident is a civil matter and after all information is verified and identification of the involved parties is verified and exchanged the matter is left to the insurance companies for compensation of damages and injuries where required.

In reference to “If you said how many days a week is it sunny, we’re not going to track that” I made that comment while I was standing on my deck and was giving a general example of something we don’t track.  The comment was general in nature and not comparing cyclist incidents to the weather, but an example of something the Toronto Police Service does not create an incident report or track on a daily basis.

 In order to track the bicycle vs. car incident an individual would have to manually go through 55000 collision calls for service and read each call and determine the outcome. This unfortunately is not possible at this time but may be trackable at a later time when new software is incorporated in to the operating systems of the Toronto Police Service.

The reporter then asked for my opinion on what Chicago has in place for this type of incident and said “we have a lot of these types of collisions”.  I told the reporter that there is no basis for his statement and he said that “I assume we have a lot of these collisions” I told him that there is no basis for that statement and as a result it would be improper for me to comment on it.

This is the basically the conversation that was had, however the reporter only chose to use 4 sentences. I spoke to the reporter and the community editor and asked for the story to be corrected, both refuse. The editor said "I will pass along your concerns". A disappointing response when an individual flags the content of a story to be incorrect and biased.

Cycling safety and the safety of all road users is a priority that the Toronto Police Service takes seriously.  All road users need to work together as it is a co-operative driving environment to ensure everyone gets to their destination safely. 

The Toronto Police Service will continue to strive for safer roads for all road users.

Constable Clint Stibbe, Traffic Services

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Toronto Police Service response to "Dooring incidents"

In 2010, a comprehensive review of the Motor Vehicle Accident Report manual was undertaken. Through consultation with Toronto Police Service, York Regional Police Service, Waterloo Regional Police Service and the Ontario Police College, the Ministry of Transportation has undertaken the reformatting and updating of the manual known as the Motor Vehicle Accident Report (MVAR).   This process took more than a year to review and addressed ambiguity of definitions as well as refreshed the source document into an electronic format with new updated graphics.
During our consultations, it was expressed to us that the name of the MVAR was itself outdated and was in need of a change to reflect current industry standards: that, “there are no accidents, only collisions.” In response, the Ministry has renamed the MVAR to Motor Vehicle Collision Report (MVCR) manual.  The word "accident" however, does remain in the Highway Traffic Act (HTA) and therefore, for Ministry purposes will be considered synonymous with any reference to “collision” and vice versa.
Yesterday, (coincidentally) Toronto Police launched a campaign – S.P.A.C.E. to cycle directly targeting cooperation of cyclists and drivers.  The education and enforcement of "dooring" has been going on well before this campaign and this article. Furthermore, the article eludes that we do not consider it, "...a collision," but does not mention the rest of the sentence, "...as it pertains to the Ontario Highway Traffic Act."
Definition of a collision (as per the Ministry of Transportation)
All Ontario Police Services define a collision as, “the contact resulting from the motion of a motor vehicle or streetcar or its load that produces property damage, injury, or death.”
Motion defined
For vehicles equipped with automatic transmission, motion refers to a moving vehicle with drivers in the driver seat and/or,
Wheels turning and axles rotating,
Skidding (moving with wheels locked, axles not rotating) ,
Vehicle stopped with the engine running and the gear in any other position other than PARK or Neutral.
The Toronto Police Service does not track these incidents specifically but if an officer believes on reasonable grounds an offence has been committed, a charge may be laid.  A collision report however does not need to be created.  The officers attending the scene will record all necessary information and ensure all information provided is accurate. This then becomes a civil matter with information between the involved parties being exchanged.
Please be assured that your Toronto Police Service is committed to ensuring the safety of all who enjoy Toronto, and keeping it one of the safest cities in the world.
Constable Clint Stibbe, Traffic Services

Friday, January 11, 2013

TDSB schools open today

Friday, January 11, 2013,
TDSB elementary and junior high schools re−opened to students,
Limited school crossing guard availability today

Friday, January 11, 2013
Traffic Services

The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) has decided to open all elementary and junior high schools, to students today.
As a result, Traffic Services is notifying the public that there will be limited school crossing guards available today at TDSB elementary and junior high school designated crossing areas.

Parents and care−givers should review pedestrian safety with their children, and reinforce the basic guidelines of, "Stop, Look and Listen," when crossing the street. Motorists are being asked to pay particular attention to these normally controlled crossing areas.

The Toronto Police Service is dedicated to ensuring the safe and orderly movement of traffic within Toronto. Education with Enforcement and awareness is pivotal to the safe and efficient flow of traffic in our city.
Constable Clint Stibbe Traffic Services

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Do you know what to do when.....

You adjust the radio looking for a station that is playing a favorite song, maybe a business report or a game.

So far you have had no such luck.

You look up and traffic has started to move you are still distracted and continue checking the stations. You look outside and notice a few cars have begun to move into other lanes, most of the vehicles are moving to the right, a few are just stopping where they are and other vehicles are moving to the left.

You begin to look around and then you see an emergency vehicle attempting to get through traffic, the lights are on but you don't hear the siren, your windows are up. The emergency vehicle is directly behind you. 

You panic you don't know what to do. 

This is a problem that first responders face every single day, a driver who doesn't know what to do. 
It is simple.

Move over.... Protect us all!

New vehicles have noise reduction capabilities that make the inside of a vehicle virtually silent despite any noise outside a vehicle.  Advances in materials and design have isolated vehicles operators from their environment. 

The "sudden" appearance of an emergency vehicle startles the driver and they panic and in a lot of cases stop their vehicle in a lane or a position that blocks the emergency vehicles' path.

The end result is a delay that causes first responders to take seconds or even minutes longer to respond to emergency calls.

The Ontario Highway Traffic Act clearly defines the responsibility of a driver on the roads of Ontario.

Approaching, following emergency vehicles
Stop on approach of vehicle with flashing lights or bell or siren sounding

159.  (1)  The driver of a vehicle, upon the approach of a police department vehicle with its bell or siren sounding or with its lamp producing intermittent flashes of red light or red and blue light, or upon the approach of an ambulance, fire department vehicle or public utility emergency vehicle with its bell or siren sounding or its lamp producing intermittent flashes of red light, shall immediately bring such vehicle to a standstill,
(a) as near as is practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway and parallel therewith and clear of any intersection; or
(b) when on a roadway having more than two lanes for traffic and designated for the use of one-way traffic, as near as is practicable to the nearest curb or edge of the roadway and parallel therewith and clear of any intersection. 2009, c. 5, s. 49.

Slow down on approaching stopped emergency vehicle

(2)  Upon approaching an emergency vehicle with its lamp producing intermittent flashes of red light or red and blue light that is stopped on a highway, the driver of a vehicle travelling on the same side of the highway shall slow down and proceed with caution, having due regard for traffic on and the conditions of the highway and the weather, to ensure that the driver does not collide with the emergency vehicle or endanger any person outside of the emergency vehicle. 2009, c. 5, s. 49.


(3)  Upon approaching an emergency vehicle with its lamp producing intermittent flashes of red light or red and blue light that is stopped on a highway with two or more lanes of traffic on the same side of the highway as the side on which the emergency vehicle is stopped, the driver of a vehicle travelling in the same lane that the emergency vehicle is stopped in or in a lane that is adjacent to the emergency vehicle, in addition to slowing down and proceeding with caution as required by subsection (2), shall move into another lane if the movement can be made in safety. 2009, c. 5, s. 49.

So the emergency vehicle goes past your vehicle and you decide to follow the vehicle.  What can it hurt, if you follow the vehicle you will probably get to your destination faster.


Following fire department vehicle

(4)  No driver of a vehicle shall follow in any lane of a roadway at a distance of less than 150 metres a fire department vehicle responding to an alarm. 2009, c. 5, s. 49.


(5)  Nothing in subsection (2) or (3) prevents a driver from stopping his or her vehicle and not passing the stopped emergency vehicle if stopping can be done in safety and is not otherwise prohibited by law. 2009, c. 5, s. 49.


(6)  Every person who contravenes subsection (1), (2), (3) or (4) is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable,
(a) for a first offence, to a fine of not less than $400 and not more than $2,000; and
(b) for each subsequent offence, to a fine of not less than $1,000 and not more than $4,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than six months, or to both. 2009, c. 5, s. 49.

Every driver must be aware of their surroundings at all times, when drivers are distracted they don't realize the effect that their distraction has on other individuals, the few seconds or minutes that are lost could cost someone their life. 

That someone could be a person that you know! 

Be aware as a road user, and pay attention to the things that are happening around you.

By watching this video you could save someones life.


You could save someone's life!!!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

So traffic is heavy, and you have to get there.....

You keep looking at the clock and the minutes just tick by.....


You are 5 minutes late and you had to be there at 9:00!!!!

If you speed up a bit, what’s the big deal?

It might just get you there a little less late, but in the end you will still be late!!!!

On September 30, 2007, Bill 203 came into effect. This important piece of legislation addresses the issues of speed/stunt driving on Ontario roads, to ensure the safety of all road users, and remove those who put innocent people at risk with bad driving behavior.

As a road using community, drivers have had an ample amount of time to adjust to this new legislation. In reality speed limits have been in effect for years. For years vehicles have been capable of speeds far above our highest posted speed limits.

In my capacity as a traffic enforcement officer, I often stopped individuals for speeding, many of these individuals appeared remorseful, and a few however believed they weren't speeding unless they were at least 20 km/h over the posted limit. Occasionally these offenders are the same individuals who had complained about speeding drivers in the area originally.

Some drivers even offered excuses for committing the infraction.

No matter the reason there is no excuse, even 1 km/h over the speed limit is considered speeding.

The devices that are used to determine your speed are capable of accurately measuring your speed (+/- 1 km/h). These devices cannot be manipulated to falsify or alter your speed, the devices state factual information.

Under the Highway Traffic Act only emergency vehicles can travel above the posted speed limits.

The consequences for being charged with a stunt driving offence 50 km/h or more over the speed limit) begin immediately.

The vehicle you are operating is immediately impounded for seven days and your licence is suspended for seven days.

This amount does not include the $150.00 reinstatement fee that is charged by the Ministry of transportation for you to get your licence reinstated.

The average cost for towing
and storage is $700.00-$1000.00.
Losing your vehicle or your licence is not the only things you will have to deal with. You will also be subject to a $10,000 fine which is an increase from the nominal $1000 fine that was previously imposed on stunt driving and/or racing. And the minimum fine for a conviction is $2000; therefore street racing and/or stunt driving can be a costly decision if you’re caught and charged.

 The other types of fees that you can face are for legal representation, and possible increases to your insurance rates for years to come.
Imagine having to face this situation just because you were late…..

Some easy changes that you can make are:

1) Plan ahead (check weather and construction delays on your route).
2) Set your clocks, watches, etc. 10 minutes ahead of the actual time.
3) Use traffic apps on your smartphone or GPS devices that advise you of delays on your route and redirect you enroute (only devices that can be used hands-free).
4) Schedule appointments during off-peak rush hour times.

If you make some of these simple changes you can avoid the possibility of facing these types of issues, and you can arrive at your destination early.

From January 1, 2012, to December 31, 2012, the Toronto Police Service has issued 381 suspensions for speeding/stunt driving.

You decide your speed, physics decides whether you live or die.

Is it worth becoming a statistic?