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Is it okay to cycle past open streetcar doors?

Dear Urban Diplomat,

I bike to work along College, so I’m often stopping and starting to accommodate streetcars and their riders. I always stop when a car opens its doors, but, on occasion, when they’re stopped at a green light and no one’s coming or going, I’ll slowly ride past an open door to make the light. I’ve never hit anyone or even come close, but I’ve recently had a couple of people on the sidewalk freak out at me. They’re just being overdramatic, right?

—I Too Shall Pass, Little Italy

The sidewalk safety squad may be a tad theatrical, but they’re not wrong: the Highway Traffic Act forbids cyclists to pass a stopped streetcar while passengers are boarding or disembarking. And, more to the point, there’s a sign on the back of every car that reads, “Do not pass open doors.” The TTC can slap you with a $109 fine if you do. Even if you’re extra careful, it’s sheer dumb luck that you’ve yet to accidentally bump into some Latey McLateface bolting to catch a stopped streetcar. The few seconds you save making that green light aren’t worth it.

Send your questions to the Urban Diplomat at urbandiplomat@torontolife.com

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