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During our consultations, it was expressed to us that the name of the MVAR was itself outdated and was in need of a change to reflect current industry standards: that, “there are no accidents, only collisions.”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


  1. This is possibly the most obtuse response to a very real safety issue I have ever read.

    1. Rules and regulations set out by the Ministry of Transportation must be followed in order to maintain a consistant response to incidents and reporting of them as required. These rules must be followed by all Police Services in Ontario. @TrafficServices

  2. I would agree with @meznor, Toronto Police Services seem to be taking an oddly obtuse and passive approach to an issue that is a real and pressing danger to the citizens you 'serve and protect'.

    I'm not particularly interested in the bureaucratic background that justifies your decision. I am interested in the safety of this city's citizens.

    According the an article in today's Star you stated “If you said how many days a week is it sunny, we’re not going to track that”. Actually, if sunny days were otherwise untracked and a serious factor in road safety I certainly would expect you to track them. As dooring incidents are one of the top causes of cyclist injury according to studies by the City I'd expect you'd see it as your duty to track them, yes.

  3. Goes to show you why cyclists so often break the traffic rules and regulations - we KNOW the police are NOT there to protect us. They are there to keep the cars flowing.

    My personal safety trumps the law every time, especially as the police won't protect us.