If you’re cycling in High Park this summer, you may want to slow down.
That is, if you want to avoid a speeding ticket.
Toronto police and the city’s cyclists are at odds after the former began enforcing a posted 20 km/h speed limit in High Park by issuing tickets to cyclists.
David Shellnut is a Toronto-based writer representing injured cyclists. Earlier this week, he took to Twitter to announce that he would be filing a formal complaint on behalf of a client who received a $65 speeding ticket while cycling in the park.
He was going just 26 kilometres per hour -- what some point out is a mere six kilometres over the limit.
In response to the Tweet, Mayor John Tory says the park needs to be shared in a press conference Tuesday and that the police are only doing their jobs and shouldn’t be criticized.
“When I heard this debate going on with respect to why should anybody pay attention to any of this I though well that would be great for a world in which there are only cyclists in High Park but there are other people there and we have to establish a safe balance between all those different activities and no group can have their rights supersede the rights of others,” Tory said. “If somebody was to get struck by one of those cyclists travelling at a high speed and badly injured then what discussion would we be having about that? Some of you would be saying where were the authorities to ensure people wouldn’t be put at risk like that?”
But critics point to the fact that there have been few bike collisions in or around the High Park neighbourhood, pointing instead to reckless drivers and incidents of pedestrians struck by cars.
However, others chimed in on social media to say that speeding cyclists were indeed an issue at the landmark park.
“I am in favour of police ticketing 100% of vehicles doing 6km/hr above the speed limit anywhere in Toronto,” Tweeted one user. “They should ban cyclists from high park. It would be a lot safer for pedestrians,” Tweeted another.
“Good news for pedestrians & yes I have been knocked down by a cyclist,” wrote another Twitter user.
But Shellnut points to a survey issued by the City of Toronto that reveals that 75% of respondents said they would prefer a car-free High Park. He also questions why Toronto police traffic tickets fell by two-thirds in 2019, even as deaths spiked.
For all the drama, follow the #highpark hashtag.