Here are the notes I wrote down about what happened:
Any help is appreciated. I only got my license last year as a 32 year old, and I'm really hoping I can explain what happened and not get the demerit points. I honestly think I was acting responsibly, and I made what I thought was the safest decision at the time, so hopefully that counts for something.At approximately 9pm tonight I was heading westbound on Harbord in a car2go at approximately the speed limit (40km/h), which I felt was appropriate given the conditions and traffic.
As I approached the intersection of Harbord and College, there was a bike riding in the bike lane on the right hand side near where the bike lane ends. I estimate she was about 35 meters back from the intersection.
She was riding almost on top of the line separating the bike lane, so I needed to move to the far left of the lane to give her space. I saw some oncoming traffic through the intersection, so as I moved to pass her, I accelerated slightly so I could around the cyclist and get back into the center of the lane as quickly as possible, leaving room between me and the oncoming traffic, so they wouldnÃƒÂ¢Ã‚â‚¬Ã‚â„¢t be stuck between my car and the parked cars on the other side of the street.
As I started to pass the cyclist I remember looking at the countdown on the pedestrian crosswalk and seeing three seconds left and thinking that I had sufficient time to make it through the intersection before the light would change.
As I drew even with the cyclist, I was looking out the passenger window to make sure I was giving her enough clearance. And then in the passenger side mirror as I pulled back in front of her to make sure I wasn't cutting her off.
When I looked forward again, I saw the light turn yellow. At the time, I looked at the distance between my car and the intersection, and I hesitated slightly when making the decision about the point of no return. I was worried that I was too close to the intersection and that if I was to stop quickly I probably wouldnÃƒÂ¢Ã‚â‚¬Ã‚â„¢t be able to stop before entering the intersection, or that I would have to really slam on the brakes to stop in time. I felt that it was safer to continue through the intersection. In my drivers training I was taught that itÃƒÂ¢Ã‚â‚¬Ã‚â„¢s safest not to make any kind of changes when proceeding through an intersection (no lane changes, no changes of speed etc.) so having made the decision to continue I maintained my current speed as I passed through the intersection.
IÃƒÂ¢Ã‚â‚¬Ã‚â„¢m a relatively new driver, so itÃƒÂ¢Ã‚â‚¬Ã‚â„¢s possible that another driver may have made a different decision in the same circumstances, or that I would have been able to stop if I had applied the brakes on full at the moment I saw the yellow light, but I hesitated and at the time of this incident I used my best judgement and felt that I was pursuing the safest course of action. I entered the intersection when the light was yellow, and I proceeded with caution -- avoiding any changes in speed or steering inputs until I had cleared the intersection.
The bike lane ends about 40m from the intersection -- at 40km that would take about 3.6 seconds to cover. It takes about 2 seconds to overtake a bicycle, so by the time I got around the cyclist I was probably about 18m from the intersection when I looked up and saw the yellow light.
Once clear of the intersection, I reduced my speed and continued down harbord to clinton, where I slowed to let some other bikes pass and made a right turn. After I made the right turn, the officer behind me turned on his lights and I pulled to the side of the road and turned off the car.
When he approached, the officer told me that I had entered the intersection on a yellow light, and that he felt the light was quite stale when I entered the intersection. He also told me that he felt I was driving too fast, and indicated that he wanted to ÃƒÂ¢Ã‚â‚¬Ã‚Å“talk to me about it.ÃƒÂ¢Ã‚â‚¬Ã‚Â I said ÃƒÂ¢Ã‚â‚¬Ã‚Å“okÃƒÂ¢Ã‚â‚¬Ã‚Â and at that time he asked for my license and registration. I handed it over, expecting him to check my information and to return to discuss what happened and to allow me to explain why I had continued through the yellow rather than stopping.
When he came back, though he handed me the ticket for failing to stop at an amber light, and when I tried to explain what had happened he told me that he wasnÃƒÂ¢Ã‚â‚¬Ã‚â„¢t going to argue it. I took the ticket and the officer told me I was free to go.