Cyclist struck by police in High Park says same officer was ‘harassing’ riders
Posted August 3, 2022 11:48 am.
Last Updated August 3, 2022 12:33 pm.
A cyclist says the same police officer who struck him while riding his bike through High Park on Tuesday evening was seen giving other cyclists traffic tickets earlier in the day.
The incident comes amid an uproar from many cycling advocates regarding Toronto Police officers targeting and ticketing cyclists who frequent the park on their bikes.
“Last night, while harassing people on bikes in High Park, a Toronto Police officer hit a cyclist in a bike lane,” wrote lawyer David Shellnutt on Twitter.
Matthew Moore says he was taking his turn at a four-way stop when a police SUV turned into him, striking the front of his bicycle. He wasn’t hurt in the collision, but his bike was damaged.
A photo of the police accident report shows the collision involving the officer occurred at the intersection of Colborne Lodge Drive and Centre Road at 6:30 p.m.
Last night while harassing people on bikes in #HighPark a @TorontoPolice officer hit a cyclist in a bike lane. The officer failed to STOP AT A STOP SIGN & yield the right of way. Sun was in his eyes apparently. Cyclist ok but property damage. Officer not charged @JohnTory #bikeTO pic.twitter.com/i0LJldK0kF
— The Biking Lawyer (Dave Shellnutt) (@TheBikingLawyer) August 3, 2022
“The cop rolled the stop sign. I don’t know if he was looking down or what he was doing,” says Moore. “He proceeded to make a turn while I was in the middle of the intersection.”
Moore, who uses High Park to cycle for exercise around five times a week, tells CityNews he saw the same officer that struck him handing out tickets to cyclists earlier in the day.
“I spoke to one of the [cyclists] who got a $250 ticket for running a stop sign,” he says. “It’s just a bit ironic that the most damage done in High Park was by a police officer who is supposed to be helping the situation.”
He says the officer apologized to him following the collision and said the sun was in his eyes. The pair then pulled off into a nearby parking lot and waited for a crash investigator to arrive on the scene.
CityNews reached out to Toronto Police Service (TPS), who advised an investigation is taking place.
Shellnutt, dubbed “The Biking Lawyer,” has been outspoken about the police presence in the park and says Moore reached out to him following the incident. Shellnutt says it is still unclear if the officer was charged for the collision.
Another cyclist spoke out and tagged Shellnutt on social media after being given a $110 ticket for rolling a stop sign in the park. On Tuesday, Shellnutt shared a photo alleging a Toronto officer assaulted a community member and harassed cyclists in High Park.
Cyclists at odds with mayor over how to police High Park traffic
Cyclists and cycling advocates have been outspoken after news that police issued speeding tickets and other traffic fines in High Park recently.
Last week, Mayor John Tory commented on the recent uproar, saying people riding bikes are not the only ones enjoying the park and other pedestrians need to be kept safe as well.
Shellnutt says he was shocked at how out of touch the mayor sounded in his comments.
“Anybody who bikes, drives, or walks in the City of Toronto knows there are issues around dangerous driving and unsafe streets, but that is not in the park,” he says.
“We have an epidemic of car collisions causing physical harm, yet we don’t address dangerous driving.”
The City of Toronto says a survey asks residents about their priorities and preferences for the existing route through High Park, including roads, driveways, parking lots and paved trails.
The online survey runs until August 19 and can be filled out here.
With files from Lucas Casaletto