An investigation into a series of dangerous motorcycle stunts that snarled traffic on major highways in and around the Toronto area this summer has led to 48 charges, provincial police announced Wednesday.
In announcing the charges against more than 10 people, police displayed video and some of the five motorbikes they seized during search warrants executed this week.
“The danger these riders presented to themselves and to the unsuspecting drivers they distracted, cut off, or totally stopped in live lanes is beyond belief,” Supt. Alison Jevons said. “These stunts that self-servingly fuel their egos needed to be stopped before anyone was killed or maimed.”
In August, investigators appealed for dash-cam video or photographs of the bikers as they looked into a large group of motorcyclists who had caused major traffic disruptions on about 20 different occasions.
They said motorists had complained about dozens of bikers on sport bikes riding on a Sunday afternoon in an aggressive manner across all lanes and even coming to a full stop to perform various stunts and wheelies. The incidents were videoed by some of the riders and posted to various social media channels.
Police credited tips from the public for helping them identify some participants involved in an incident on Aug. 6.
The stunts occurred during a period when carnage involving motorcycles was particularly high and the subject of repeated road safety warnings, police said. The same sub-culture of riders has been known to refuse to stop and have swarmed police officers in a threatening manner, they said.
“Performing co-ordinated stunts on some of the busiest highways in North America is totally unacceptable,” said Commissioner Vince Hawkes.
Police said seven of 10 people charged with offences such as dangerous operation of a motor vehicle and fleeing an officer had already appeared in court while officers were searching for three others charged. Additionally, some of those accused and others are charged with offences such as driving with a suspended licence.
The investigation continues, police said.
In asking the public for help last month, Sgt. Kerry Schmidt said an officer had tried in vain to pull over riders on Highway 401.
“That officer was swarmed by riders,” Schmidt said. “They all flippantly took off from the officer at high rates of speed.”
Provincial police previously laid charges in March in relation to similar incidents on Toronto-area highways in 2016. One rider was killed in July last year when he collided with a transport truck as a group of motorcyclists travelling as a pack on Highway 401 slowed traffic while performing stunts.
“This investigation, culminating with criminal code charges, should put other like-minded individuals on notice,” Det.-Insp. Scott Naylor said. “Regardless of the number of wheels under you, stunt driving has no place on Ontario highways.”
With a file from News Staff