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Montreal cyclist hit with $651 ticket for warning bikers to stop at lights

MONTREAL – Have you ever flashed your lights to warn other drivers about a speed trap ahead?

Like many of us, Montrealer Christopher Lloyd had the best interests of fellow road users at heart as he stood at the corner of Duluth and St. Urbain on Wednesday morning, advising cyclists to stop at the lights.

But the police officers running a “red light” trap on the other side of the intersection didn’t see it in the same way, and issued Lloyd with a massive fine.

It all started after Lloyd was nailed for running a red light on his early morning commute down the bike path on St. Urbain.

After getting a $41 ticket and three demerit points added his driver’s licence, he decided to take a minute and warn other riders to stop at the light.

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He didn’t realize he was doing anything illegal until one of the police officers approached him.

“He told me I was disrupting a police operation,” Lloyd said. “So I asked ‘How?'”

The officer led Lloyd back to his motorcycle and handed him another ticket: a $651 fine for obstructing justice.

In pictures: Good-hearted cyclist nailed with $692 in fines

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This Montreal intersection was at the heart of a controversial fine on Wednesday. Martin Hazel/Global News
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A Toronto cycling advocacy group says new bike lanes on Adelaide and Richmond are unsafe. File / Global News
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The police were operating a "red light" trap at this intersection early in the morning on Wednesday, July 10, 2013. Martin Hazel/Global News
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Christopher Lloyd was hit with two tickets after running a red light at the intersection of Duluth and St. Urbain. Martin Hazel/Global News
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One of the tickets - for $651 - was given after Lloyd warned other cyclists to stop at the light. Martin Hazel/Global News
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"They do it in the guise of public safety," said Lloyd. Martin Hazel/Global News
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A Montreal cyclist was hit with a $651 ticket after warning other bikers to stop at a red light. Martin Hazel/Global News
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Is a sign warning cyclists to slow down an obstruction of justice?. Martin Hazel/Global News
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Or an act of goodwill to remind other bikers to abide by the laws of the road?. Martin Hazel/Global News

According to Lloyd, many bike commuters in the city are feeling targeted by police.

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“Cyclists in Montreal are just livid,” he said. “Published figures show there are more cyclists are on the road, but fewer accidents.

“They [the police] do it in the guise of public safety, but essentially I was doing the same thing; I just wasn’t taking people’s money.”

Criminal defense attorney Eric Sutton told Global News that he believes that the ticket was unwarranted.

“I thought the police acted particularly over-zealously,” he said.

“I just can’t understand how he could be subject to any kind of prosecution for doing what a good citizen should do.”

Listen to his full statement here:

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But not all Montrealers agree. Comments on Global’s Facebook page revealed many people are frustrated with cyclists’ perceived lack of respect for the rules of the road.

“They need to follow rules like everyone else,” wrote Emma Leung.

“Even pedestrians got tickets for jaywalking. I’ve seen too many cyclists zoom through intersections with stop signs and red lights.”

Others said that they felt that warning other road users is a courtesy.

“Speed traps are reported on the radio stations using the term police operation, where does one draw the line?” asked John Coveyduck.

“Flashing lights or warning someone is also getting people to slow down but in a more polite manner.”

Montreal police would not officially comment on the case, but a spokesperson did suggest that if Lloyd was unhappy, he was welcome to contest the fine in court.

What do you think?

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