Cyclists Shut Down the Gardiner
On Friday night more than 200 Toronto cyclists overtook the Gardiner Expressway. Entering on the westbound ramp at Jarvis and cycling toward the Dunn Street exit, a group belonging to Critical Mass set out to block traffic on Toronto's much maligned waterfront barrier before cops descended, broke up the ride and arrested two of the participants.
On the last Friday of every month, Critical Mass participants congregate in an area of the city to make an oft-overlooked petition for more bike lanes, safety and bike-awareness in the city. With the Gardiner making headlines on Friday morning, the route last evening was more relevant if not also more dangerous than the usual non-highway fare.
According to posts made to the Critical Mass Facebook Group, the ride was a success even if our beloved police force took actions a bit beyond what was deemed necessary by local cycling activists.
Apparently, two cyclists were arrested and treated with force that was more extreme than what the situation called for. A wall post on the Critical Mass Facebook group called for members to react against the unnecessary use of force by our men and women in blue. The specific text of this was as follows:
It is IMPERATIVE that we all send emails to our individual city councilors and to the mayor and to the Toronto police service asking that:
A. The Charges against these two men be dropped.
B. These police officers be reprimanded for their violent acts (and punished for refusing to give us their name and badge numbers.) Officers K.Daley, N.Lee and two unidentified officers on the Gardiner.
C. That this double standard stop NOW! It is NOT ACCEPTABLE for Police Officers to threaten us in this way. And it is absolutely unacceptable that we be handcuffed and forced off our bikes for a TRAFFIC TICKET. This is prejudice and abuse.
We must ALL send emails and make phone calls to our councilors demanding that they act on this. An apology from the Toronto Police Service and an assurance that they will not abuse us in this way EVER AGAIN. WE are all tax-paying citizens of Toronto and we should feel safe around our PEACE OFFICERS.
More info over at the Toronto Star.
Photos by Torontopile in the blogTO Flickr pool.
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