Lindsay Zahn posted the ticket she got for blowing through a stop sign while on her bike on Facebook with a note that said "Not my day!"
Spring safety blitz is on
Police are ticketing Toronto cyclists for breaking the rules of the road
Every spring the police launch a little road "safety blitz". Last year, they also focused on distracted drivers and distracted pedestrians, as well as the usual: Ticketing cyclists for going through stop signs, along with other "safety infractions" like, say, not having a bell.
One cyclist encountered this perennial blitz for the first time this week. "I heard the sirens, and I pulled over not even thinking it was for me -- I was getting out of the way," says cyclist Lindsay Zahn. "Then I thought it was strange that the cop car stayed right in the middle of Brock Ave., making quite a traffic jam, when they could have easily moved to the side of the road."
Lindsay fully admits she was at fault, and says she personally feels it is important to follow the rules of the road, but at this particular 3-way stop in her neighbourhood (at Mary McCormack Arena) she has never had any safety issues.
"It's very important to follow the rules of the road, I never run red lights, but stop signs to me, are 'stop at your own accord.'," says Lindsay, "I'm always constantly scanning the road for cars."
She says her top concerns when riding are being doored, potholes, stop signs and looking out for pedestrians: "If I need to stop, I stop," she says, adding that if there are no cars or pedestrians at a 3-way or 4-way stop she continues through with caution.
"Yes, I knew it was a stop sign -- it's my regular route into Parkdale," she says. "Why didn't I stop, good question -- no reason really, I've been cycling in the city since 1996. I just always think I'm safe. I do slow down coming up to stop signs, I usually do the rolling stop."
This is Lindsay's very first time receiving a ticket on her bike, and she has never received a ticket driving her car. But she's chill about it. "I'm okay with it... for the amount of years cycling in the city, it was bound to happen. I'm just upset I have to give $ 110 up!"
"I think the police should give warnings during bike blitz month."
Indeed, warnings would be nice and while the police are at it, why not give out some free bells to those who don't have one? I mean, is it really a menace to society if one doesn't have a bell on their bike? If we're talking about the spring safety blitz as being "for" cyclists, we at dandyhorse would humbly suggest the police focus more on distracted drivers.
But the point remains the same: Cyclists beware! And let Lindsay's experience serve as a cautionary tale: Respect the rules of the road and watch out for the po po this time of year unless you have an extra $110 to spare.
In the meantime, let's continue to push for lower speed limits downtown, as well as increased penalties for distracted driving: The true threat to road safety in the city.
We're waiting to hear back from the police on how long the 2015 spring blitz will last and will update this post when we find out.
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