high park protest

Hundreds of cyclists clog Toronto streets and block traffic to protest High Park policing

Cyclists took to the streets in Toronto's west-end last night to protest the increased presence of police in High Park.

Organized by the Biking Lawyer and other cycling advocates in the city, Thursday's slow demonstration through High Park and along Parkside drew hundreds of bikers.

Videos from the scene show throngs of bikers clogging up the streets and blocking traffic at Bloor and Keele/Parkside.

Visuals from the protest are astonishing, with helmets and tires as far as the eye can see.

Yesterday's protest comes after weeks of Toronto Police officers surveilling the park and issuing tickets for speeding bikers.

It's a debate that has greatly divided the city, with many accusing Toronto Mayor John Tory of taking the side of motorists.

In a release issued from his office, Tory said he met with advocacy group Cycle Toronto on Aug. 10 and said he is "open to innovative solutions to help all park users better enjoy the park and respect each other."

"I was clear today in our meeting that of necessity involves everyone-every road user-respecting the law and accommodating each other. Is there a greater onus on car drivers to respect the law? Absolutely."

He encouraged Toronto Police to release the data on ticketed cyclists in the park, which was made public the following day.

Between Jan. 2021 and Aug. 10 just 16 traffic tickets were issued to cyclists at the park, according to police, compared to 1,215 traffic tickets to motorists in and around the High Park area.

Many people in Toronto have shown support for the cyclists and believe High Park should ban motor vehicle access all together.

But at the same time, it seems an equal amount of residents blame cyclists for "dangerous" conditions in the park and want bikers to be treated the same as motorists.

Either way, Toronto's cyclists have made it loud and clear where they stand.

Lead photo by

Martin Reis

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