Toronto police issued more than 800 tickets for aggressive driving during a week-long blitz in June aimed at increasing safety for cyclists on city streets.
During the “safety for cyclists” campaign, which ran from June 17 to 23, officers asked drivers to be alert and prepared to share the road with vulnerable road users. June is Bike Month in Toronto.
Police issued a total of 1,617 Highway Traffic Act tickets that week and the vast majority were against drivers, according to Sgt. Brett Moore, spokesperson for Toronto police’s traffic services unit.
“We know far too often that vulnerable road users — cyclists, pedestrians — are on the receiving end of injury after a crash,” Moore said on Tuesday.
“It’s really a time to support bicycle month in Toronto, which is all of June, and we take this period of time to reconnect with drivers about some of the behaviours that we see that cause these crashes. As well, we reconnect with cyclists to talk about some of the road safety issues that we see.”
Moore said police conducted the campaign because cycling has become extremely popular in Toronto, not only for recreational purposes, but also as a means of transportation.
“Cycling is turning out to be a lot more than just something done recreationally. People more and more, especially in Toronto, are using it, if not their main mode, then one of their modes of transportation daily. That’s something we want to take advantage of.”
‘It’s not just about tickets’
Officers were on the lookout for drivers who were speeding, driving while distracted, driving while impaired and driving aggressively. In addition to issuing tickets, officers engaged in conversations with motorists and cyclists about such topics as bike lanes and vehicles parking in bike lanes, Moore added.
He said the campaign combined what he called zero tolerance law enforcement to target drivers who commit offences and community engagement to heighten awareness of the dangers that cyclists face daily.
“It’s not just about tickets. It’s about getting people to think differently and to share the road safely,” he said.
Police talked to drivers and cyclists as well about how to register a bicycle with police and the phenomenon of “dooring.” Dooring occurs when a cyclist is hit by an opening car door.
Moore said the work of enforcing the rules and educating drivers about bike safety occurs every single day, but a campaign focuses the “collective energy of the police” on a single topic.