January 31, 2023
City Council c/o Mayor John Tory Traffic Services c/o Chief Demkiw City of Toronto Toronto Police Services
100 Queen St. W. 40 College St
Toronto, ON M5H 2N2 Toronto, ON M5G 2J3
RE: VEHICULAR ASSAULT
On January 21, 2023, a cyclist was targeted by a motorist, first with homophobic slurs and then run off the road on Bathurst Street. The cyclist crashed and sustained a head injury as a result. This horrible ordeal was captured on video, a copy of which was submitted to police.
An eyewitness caught the driver’s license plate as he sped off and confirmed to police that the driver had intentionally swerved into the cyclist.
7 days later, on January 28, the investigating officer finally got back to our client advising that the driver had been charged with “not allowing you to have the lane” (s. 147(1) HTA).
From the video & witness evidence it appears that additional charges should have been laid against this dangerous motorist, including:
• Intentional Act of Violence/Assault (Criminal Code);
• Pass Within 1 metre (148(4) HTA);
• Careless Driving Causing Bodily Harm (130(3) HTA); and
• Fail to Remain (s. 200(1) HTA).
None of these charges were laid nor was any comment from the officer provided about the hate speech.
Despite our client’s entitlement to the driver’s insurance information under the HTA (s.200(1)), requests made for same via email to the investigating officer were left unanswered. Our client needs immediate access to no fault medical benefits including concussion therapy and trauma supports. The delay caused by this failure to provide the driver’s insurance information is having a deleterious effect on our client’s health and recovery. On January 28, the officer informed our client they were going to be off until Feb. 2. Our emails to follow up on the insurance information and charges have not been answered.
After contacting Traffic Services, we were informed that they have no proper MVA Report of the incident. The officer did not find that a collision had occurred and so one wasn’t created. But for the intentional act of the motorist using their vehicle to hit and/or run our client off the road, this cyclist would not have had to take evasive maneuvers and subsequently crashed into the curb.
As lawyers for countless cyclists injured intentionally by motorists who are rarely charged/under charged, it is astonishing to see the acts of violence on the TTC used to justify expanded policing and police budgets in the midst of the TPS budget being debated by Council.
We see an endless stream of violence on our streets with none of this performative mobilization of the police force used by TPS and Mayor Tory to justify budget increases. Budget increases to a civil service with an acknowledged anti-Black violence problem.
As members of the cycling community and lawyers for those who have experienced police violence, we know that the solution to road violence is not more police. Solutions lie in safe protected infrastructure like the Yonge St. bike lanes, automated ticketing, & massive investments into mental health supports.
We need bold leadership to address systemic issues of violence and inequity in our society, not more police. Our office would be happy to engage in and contribute to discussions about safe streets and policing at any time.
Lawyer & Advocate