Toronto cop who was ‘doored’ on duty wants police to track incidents
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When Jeff Taylor was hit by a car door while riding his bike in June, his fall was cushioned by a bulletproof vest.
Taylor is about the last person you want to door: he’s a bike cop in 13 Division.
Like many urban riders, he felt the sting of a “door prize” — when a car abruptly opens its door and hits a cyclist.
Unlike the force he has served on for more than 20 years, Taylor thinks police should track the crashes.
On Aug. 8, he sent a strongly worded email to the Toronto Police Services Board, arguing against the force’s policy.
“I believe these incidents should be tracked,” he wrote. “They are a very serious threat to all cyclists.”
Toronto police stopped tracking dooring in 2012 after the provincial government redefined “collisions” as involving vehicles in motion.
Between 2007 and 2011, an average of 144 dooring incidents annually were reported in Toronto.
Taylor could not be reached for comment. He did not respond to numerous emails and tweets. 13 Division said he was on sick leave, then said he was on vacation.
But in his email to the police board, the veteran officer described his “door prize” in vivid detail and argued against ignoring the accidents.
On June 24, according to his email, Taylor was on bike patrol near St. Clair and Oakwood Aves. He was going at a relatively fast clip — 15 km/h, he later guessed. As he pedalled into a No Frills parking lot, a car’s door swung open.
“I had absolutely no chance to avoid striking the door,” he wrote. “The impact was to the right side of my chest.”
Taylor fell off his bike. The crash was serious enough that an ambulance came and took him to hospital. He was later diagnosed with a fractured sternum.
“Had it not been for my ballistic vest, the injuries would have been more severe, or fatal,” he wrote.
Police board chair Alok Mukherjee included the email in a sheaf of correspondence from the public at the most recent board meeting. All of the submissions encouraged police to resume tracking dooring.
“This is such a common accident on Toronto streets, and we already witness a culture where cyclists are blamed first for road accidents,” wrote Morgan Bot.
“Please begin reporting and addressing the issue of dooring,” wrote David Boon. “It’s very easy for a cyclist to be seriously injured or even killed while riding a bike in Toronto due to most of the city being a parking lot.”
At the Aug. 13 meeting, Mukherjee ordered police to review the feasibility of tracking dooring.
Police have three months to report back to the board. The force has said it will not start tracking dooring until it is ordered to do so.
When Taylor sent his email, he hadn’t fully healed. “I am still recovering from this incident,” he wrote.
Milan Lukes, 13, is slated to speak at a giant pumpkin growing seminar in St. Norbert just before next year’s growing season kicks off.
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