Beautiful speed trap in downtown Toronto

Axel
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Beautiful speed trap in downtown Toronto

by: Axel on
Sun Mar 17, 2013 7:29 pm

A few weeks ago, I was driving Eastbound on Dupont and turned right onto Davenport (southbound).
Dupont is a 4 lane street with a 50 km/h speed limit.
Davenport southbound is also a 4 lane street but happens to be a 40 km/h zone and not 50 km/h zone (much to my surprise).

I was pulled over for doing a 58 in a 40 zone. I was quite flabbergasted that the limit on that stretch was 40 (this is my first speeding ticket in years).

The cop pointed to a sign showing that it specifically says the speed limit is 40. I was therefore surprised I had missed it. I don't usually miss signs. Therefore, after everything was done, I went back and back-tracked. I needed to know how I had possibly missed that sign.

Turns out, the sign is positioned in a way that from the moment you make a right hand turn from Dupont onto Davenport, it is completely and constantly hidden from view by my rearview mirror! (And I'm assuming most people's rearview mirrors, at least the ones that drive cars and not SUVs or trucks).

Of course, by the time the officer clocks you with his radar gun, it's too late as the next sign displaying the speed limit is over 80 metres further down the road.

I have to hand it to the city and the cops for picking such a beautiful speed trap. Unless you already know that that stretch of 4 lane street is a 40 zone, it's a tough one to avoid since the sign telling you the speed limit's changed is obstructed from view).

This one deserves a golf clap. Well played sirs, well played.

So to anyone living/driving in the downtown Toronto area, be warned that Davenport, from Dupont to Bay street, is actually a 40 zone, not a 50 zone.


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CliffClaven
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by: CliffClaven on
Mon Mar 18, 2013 11:59 am

Hmmmm. Your story makes me wonder, "Under what conditions can the urban speed limit be set LOWER than 50 km/h?"

I've seen the limit lowered to 40 km/h in a school zone, which seems to make good sense. But there aren't any schools where the OP got nabbed on Davenport south of Dupont, so why would the limit there be only 40?


Axel
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by: Axel on
Mon Mar 18, 2013 6:58 pm

CliffClaven wrote:Hmmmm. Your story makes me wonder, "Under what conditions can the urban speed limit be set LOWER than 50 km/h?"

I've seen the limit lowered to 40 km/h in a school zone, which seems to make good sense. But there aren't any schools where the OP got nabbed on Davenport south of Dupont, so why would the limit there be only 40?
Absolutely. I was quite surprised.

However, I think I found a legitimate and valid defense.

Turns out speed limit signs must be visible at least 60 metres from approaching traffic (Ontario Regulation 615 section 45).

"45. A sign prescribed by this Regulation, other than a sign prescribed by section 13, 14, 15, 24, 25, 26 or 27, shall be so placed as to be visible at all times for a distance of at least 60 metres to the traffic approaching the sign."

http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/regs/e ... e.htm#BK23

In this instance, as I was making a right turn from Dupont and the sign is approximately 20 metres from the intersection, meaning I did not have the 60 metres the law stipulates.

I assume this regulation for speed signs was put into effect for two reasons. 1) To allow enough time/distance for approaching traffic to reduce their speed prior to entering the new speed limit and 2) So as to provide a better line of sight for the driver (which in my case, was entirely blocked from view by my rear view mirror. Had the sign been further away as it should have, it would have been lower in my line of sight, not even considering the fact that I had just made a right turn and needed to pay attention to traffic).

Here's a photo of the sign:

https://maps.google.ca/maps?q=dupont+an ... .29,,0,6.1

What do you guys think?


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by: ynotp on
Mon Mar 18, 2013 8:12 pm

The default speed limit for toronto is 50 kph in the absence of any signs. Even if you can convince a JP the sign wasn't visible and the limit should be 50, you are still guilty of speeding because you were going 58. The 60m rule will not apply to turning traffic but only traffic approaching the sign from up the road.


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by: Axel on
Mon Mar 18, 2013 9:16 pm

Ok, but I fail to see how my actual speed is of any relevance to the issue that I could not see the sign of the new speed limit. By law, the JP has to ascertain the case at hand. The speed limit wasn't 50 so it's a mute point.

It's basically, oh so I would have been speeding had the speed limit been 50? Well, give me an 8 over the speed limit ticket then. Oh, the speed limit isn't 50? Then why bring it up?

I'm trying to ascertain the validity of such a statement (i.e. is this something the JP would actually be allowed to bring up?)

Which then brings me to my next question. You mention:

"The 60m rule will not apply to turning traffic but only traffic approaching the sign from up the road."

Do you have official text showing that this is only applicable to non-turning traffic? In the end, once you've made the turn, you're going straight on the new road. These signs need to be visible. You cannot expect a driver to see a sign if they've already passed it because they turned onto a new street with a new speed limit. The turn itself is irrelevant.

In this particular case, there's a reason why the sign says "Begins". Technically, if you were coming from the same street through the intersection (rather than turning), the speed limit would remain the same. You wouldn't need a "Begins" sign. The fact that the "Begins" sign is there is clearly for the cars turning from Dupont which is a 50 zone.

Thanks for adding your comments to this thread. I'd like to ascertain the full legality of situation.


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by: Stanton on
Mon Mar 18, 2013 11:41 pm

The interpretation I’ve always seen the Courts take is that the sign is valid as long as it would be visible from 60 meters back. In other words, regardless if you just turned onto the roadway or not, as long the sign would be visible to approaching traffic 60 meters down the road, it meets the requirement. I don’t know if there is case law supporting this or if simply falls under the exemption provided by section 47 of the regulation. Perhaps it could be a valid defence with some supporting case law, but I’ve never seen it used successfully.

I think the problem with a strict interpretation is that you’d arguably need signs posted within 60 meters of every roadway, laneway, plaza and even private driveway that merges with the road.
CliffClaven wrote:Hmmmm. Your story makes me wonder, "Under what conditions can the urban speed limit be set LOWER than 50 km/h?"
I don't think there is any requirement; the municipality need only pass a bylaw setting the speed limit they want. The HTA only states that the limit cannot be greater than 100 kilometres per hour. It also used to say it couldn't be lower than 40, but that section was repealed.

In my experience, lowered speed limits tend to be the result local residents being vocal to their Councillor about speeding on their street (perceived or real). I'm sure there are Provincial guidelines about recommended speed limits for various road types and designs, but I don't think they'd be mandatory, at least regarding minimums.


Axel
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by: Axel on
Tue Mar 19, 2013 12:25 am

Stanton wrote:The interpretation I’ve always seen the Courts take is that the sign is valid as long as it would be visible from 60 meters back. In other words, regardless if you just turned onto the roadway or not, as long the sign would be visible to approaching traffic 60 meters down the road, it meets the requirement. I don’t know if there is case law supporting this or if simply falls under the exemption provided by section 47 of the regulation. Perhaps it could be a valid defence with some supporting case law, but I’ve never seen it used successfully.

I think the problem with a strict interpretation is that you’d arguably need signs posted within 60 meters of every roadway, laneway, plaza and even private driveway that merges with the road.
Hmm...well, that doesn't make any logical sense. How can someone turning into a new street be aware of the new speed limit? Interesting conundrum.

As for needing signs within 60 metres of every roadway, laneway, plaza and private drive, no, not really.

If you look closely, you'll notice, there is a speed limit sign for every street that is NOT 50kph (obviously), but if one of the access points to that street happens to be from another street who's speed limit is not the same speed limit, the word "Begins" is added. And until that sign is reached, the speed limit of that street stays the same as the street you came from.
A laneway and private driveway are exempt as they're not considered standard "highways".

This is exactly the case with my situation. Davenport is not technically a 40 zone for that entire stretch. It's a 50 zone north and south of Dupont until the 40 Begins signs are reached (the north one is considerably further up the road).

This is for obvious logical reasons that a driver who's on one street needs to be made aware that the speed limit has changed. Hence the sign with Begins on it. However, in my case, I wasn't provided the 60 metres of visibility as required per Ontario Regulation 615 which is why I missed it and thought the speed limit was still 50kph.

I'll provide this legal argument to the prosecutor and see what he has to say. To me, it's quite black and white. There's another electrical pole up the road (the next one to be exact) which would be perfect for that speed limit sign. Thus section 47 doesn't apply here.


ynotp
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by: ynotp on
Tue Mar 19, 2013 8:28 am

Respectfully, I think you are barking up the wrong pole. You were clocked at 58, so even if you can successfully argue the speed limit of 40 was invalid because of inadequate signage then the prosecutor will argue that the limit is 50 by default and and since you were going over 50 you will be convicted of speeding 8 over the limit (I have recently seen people clocked and ticketed for going 6 over). Remember that in the absence of a sign in Toronto the limit is 50.

If you want to fight this you are going to be better off relying on the cop not showing up, a reduced charge, a stay of proceedings or going to trial saying you were doing 40 and successfully challenging the officers evidence.


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by: MegaSilver on
Tue Mar 19, 2013 9:52 am

If we can agree that in this scenario the sign is invalid, (thus falling back to 50 km/h), could you not argue that this was a fatal ticketing error as it is an "unknown offence", since "58 km/h in a 40 km/h zone" is not a valid offence for this location?


Axel
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by: Axel on
Tue Mar 19, 2013 10:25 am

We'll see. I'll update the thread after I have my meeting with the prosecutor (still waiting for a date).

Ultimately, I have difficulty seeing the legality of giving out a ticket to someone for something that doesn't exist. It's not a 50 zone. You can't give someone a 58 in a 50 zone if that 50 doesn't even exist at said place (kind of like what MegaSilver is saying).

Might be a while until I have an update but I'll be back. :)


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