Mom and daughter alarmed to see VPD police cruiser 'barrelling down' bike lane
VANCOUVER -- A Vancouver mother and her young daughter were shocked to see a police car driving towards them in a bike lane this week.
It happened Wednesday morning along Beach Avenue, where the City of Vancouver has put a temporary bike lane on the road to give pedestrians more space along the seawall in response to the pandemic.
In the first few seconds of spotting the vehicle, Lucy Maloney said she felt panic.
“It was just a look like an extremely reckless black sports car, that's what it looked like from where I was,” Maloney said.
She said it wasn’t until she used her hands to gesture the vehicle to stop that the police officer activated the flashing blue and red lights.
“The police need to have a look at their policies on when unmarked police cars drive in a way that would be completely illegal and reckless for any other person. If they're going to do that, they need to have their lights and sirens on…so that we know that it's not just some random person barrelling down the bike lane,” she said.
Since the temporary bike lane was put along Beach Avenue, the street has been one-way for motorists, who can only travel west.
Vancouver police said the officers were responding to a crime in progress involving a “chronic offender” and they were trying to take the quickest route.
“I can empathize with how the cyclists have felt. I would probably feel the same way if I saw a car coming my direction as well, but, you know, sometimes this is what we have to do to get to somebody committing a crime before they injure anyone else,” explained Const. Tania Visintin, spokesperson for the VPD.
“If you call police because something's happening or you're in danger, you would want to get there right away, and in this case, our officers got there as safely as possible using the safest route as possible before any other danger occurred.”
Maloney said she has no issues with emergency vehicles using the bike lane. In fact, she thinks it is one of the huge advantages of a wide bike lane. She said all that cyclists want is a heads-up.
“Having their lights on the whole time would have made no difference to them, how quickly they got to their offender, but it would have made a huge difference to the safety of cyclists using the lane,” she said.