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