toronto bike cops

Toronto bike cops caught breaking the very rules other cyclists are ticketed for

Toronto Police have aggressively targeted cyclists in High Park this summer, but are the force's bike cops held to the same stringent standards?

A video clip circulating on Twitter shows bike cops committing the same road infractions that cyclists are regularly punished for, the trio of officers showing little regard for the rules of the road that police so vigorously enforce.

The clip captures the three officers all failing to stop at a stop sign at Princess and The Esplanade, only to repeat the infraction a few blocks further east. The cops turn north on Berkeley Street, all failing to indicate a turn in the process. Only a block later, the group fails to stop at a red light and fails to indicate another turn.

Personal injury lawyer and cycling safety advocate David Shellnutt tells blogTO that while police appear to be breaking traffic laws in the clip, it could be used as an argument in favour of slowly rolling through stop signs, a near-halt known as the Idaho Stop.

"The footage of three Toronto Police constables safely biking through stop signs demonstrates the efficiency and low risk to public safety of the Idaho Stop."

"They should not be ticketed, rather we should use this example and review the appropriateness of implementing the Idaho Stop in Toronto and/or Ontario."

Shellnutt cites statistics and research compiled by safety advocates that indicate the Idaho Stop "is actually safer than coming to a complete stop at each stop sign and reduces congestion."

But that doesn't mean he's pleased with what he sees in the clip.

"As lawyers for injured cyclists, what bothers us about this video is the double standard and TPS' lack of accountability. For over a month now, TPS has been targeting people on bikes for safely rolling stop signs (in a park and on a major bike lane throughway in the city)."

"They have handed out costly tickets with demerit point ramifications. Now here we see them doing that exact same thing with impunity, followed by silence from TPS and those quick to scorn people on bikes."

The video comes just four months after Constable Sean Shapiro of the Toronto Police Traffic Services went on record saying that "We'd like to see more cooperation from cyclists. For them to be more responsible. You really do have to stop at stop signs. There's a joint responsibility."

It's a two-way bike lane, Constable.

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