Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Chief Chu, Don't Cancel Tickets Issued to Sidewalk Bicyclists

Just when the VPD finally did something to deter bicycling on the sidewalk, Downtown Eastside activists are lobbying the VPD to cancel tickets for that and other "nuisance" offences such as jaywalking and illegal street vending.

Activists claim the VPD unfairly targeted the Downtown Eastside last winter for ticketing. They're probably right. I had never seen a bicylist on the sidewalk ticketed until I saw it on March 17, 2009 at Abbott & Carroll. I was so surprised that I stopped to snap the above photo of it. I heard a male cop tell the male bicyclist that he was getting a ticket of $109 for riding on the sidewalk and $29 for riding without a helmet.

VPD Chief Jim Chu denies police specifically targeted the Downtown Eastside for ticketing last winter, but he's promising a decision on the request for cancellations will be made by the next police board meeting July 15th.

Chief Chu, don't cancel tickets issued to sidewalk bicyclists.

Instead, step up ticketing of bicyclists on sidewalks in other neighbourhoods, especially up Main St. where the bicyclists ride fast, sometimes directly into crowds of people waiting for the bus at rush hour. Bicylists on the sidewalk are a real menace. What always amazes me as I walk up Main St. by the sky train station is how they gear up with helmets -- helmets are less common on the Downtown Eastside -- and other equipment so that they are safe as they weave around the spines of pedestrians.

One reason activists say the tickets should be cancelled is that it takes people 11 months to maneouver through the court system. No mention of the pedestrian who manoeuvers through a lifetime with a spinal injury.

I'm tired of sidewalk cylists hiding behind a veil of green. They're dangerous.