Online speed trap survey missed the biggest fishing hole of all - Toronto
You’ll get no argument from The Fixer on the results of online voting that found Ontario is the worst place for speed traps in North America.
The only surprising thing is that Toronto isn’t at the top of the list.
A story in The Star says the U.S.-based National Motorists Association has a website that allows drivers to post locations and descriptions of speed traps. States, provinces and cities were then ranked by the number of people who clicked in agreement with user-posted hot spots for speed traps.
Mississauga, Windsor and Hamilton finished in the top five of cities larger than 50,000, but Toronto was not in it, an egregious error, in our opinion.
We’ve had several notes lately from readers complaining of police trolling for speeders in spots where they land a fish with every cast, usually driving just a bit higher than 10 k/ph over the speed limit, just fast enough to lay a charge.
“Why cop is sitting there and give innocent people a speeding ticket?” asked Mike Liz. “This area has all immigrants, mostly hardworking poor people. It is not fair due to their insurance going up.”
Previous stories in The Star and other local media have said Toronto has more speed traps than anywhere else on Earth, and we have a bulging file of tickets to prove it.
For 14 years before The Star gave us a company car to do Fixer business, we drove used BMWs with five-speed stick shifts. They were zippy cars and we had a much heavier foot back then, but we only got a couple tickets in all that time.
In 2006, about two years after we started driving a sedate Chev Malibu, our troubles began. In a 30-month period, we were busted six times by cops fishing with a radar gun, and charged five times with doing 10 k/ph over the limit. Only one of them was a two-point demerit ticket.
“I’ll do you a favour and write it down from 65 to 60,” in a 50 k/ph zone, the cop would say.
One ticket came from a cop who standing in the centre median of Lake Shore Blvd., just east of Coxwell Ave., where the speed limit drops from 60 to 50 k/ph, with a radar gun at midnight.
She ran into the darkened road as we crossed Coxwell, with not so much as another car in sight, gesturing frantically. We pulled over.
“Do you know why I stopped you?” she yelled, out of breath.
“Uh, for doing 60 in a 50?”
“No, for doing 65 in 50,” she thundered, as though we were guilty of terrorism.
Another time, we left a poker club at 2.30 a.m. and saw a cop with a radar gun hiding behind a utility pole at the bottom of a hill on Dufferin St., south of Finch Ave, waiting on an empty road for a hapless driver going just a bit more than 10 k/ph over the limit.
Didn’t he have anything better to do, or was it an exercise in generating revenue and meeting a quota, at a time when drivers might be inclined to go a bit quicker because there was hardly any traffic?
The insurance cost of our tickets was ruinous. One quote for a 10-year-old Plymouth on our household insurance was $14,000.
It is clear to us and many other drivers that Toronto police really ramped up the radar enforcement about half a dozen years ago, and are still at it, as a way of generating ticket revenue for the city.
By clocking drivers for a $60 speeding ticket, they are handing insurers a gift in the form of huge increases in premiums, even though so many tickets are written down to 10 k/ph over the limit.
We’d rather pay more property tax than be fleeced by insurers over a ticket that was written not to as a matter of public safety, but to generate revenue.