Vancouver cyclist in fight with driver disturbed by police response

A Vancouver bike courier says he was stunned when police told him he was in a “voluntary fight”, after a driver roughed him up in an incident of road rage.

Edward Hoey told the Georgia Straight that he was left with a sprained shoulder; cuts on his hand, elbow, and leg; and ripped pants after he was allegedly attacked on Friday (January 24) in downtown Vancouver. Photos of the violent confrontation have been widely circulated after his girlfriend posted them on Facebook over the weekend.

“To be told that you were involved in a voluntary fight when you were assaulted and you did not want to be thrown to the ground—it’s actually quite a hurtful thing,” Hoey said by phone today (January 27).

According to Hoey, the incident began when he made a left turn from a Hornby Street traffic lane onto the Dunsmuir Street bike lane. At the intersection, a car began honking and jolting forward behind the cyclist. On Dunsmuir, near Cactus Club Café, Hoey crashed into the sidewalk and fell over his handlebars in order to avoid a collision with the “erratic” driver.

That led to the two exchanging words. Hoey alleged that, after he put his hand on the car, the driver pulled his hand through the open passenger-side window and tried to injure his wrist. As he pulled his hand out of the car, Hoey tossed some papers on the passenger seat onto the sidewalk.

Then things escalated. Hoey recalled that the driver accused him of stealing and got out of the car.

“He grabbed my arm, used his body to trip me up, and then twisted my arm behind my back and was twisting it more and more so with his body weight on top of me—to essentially the point where my arm was pointing in the wrong direction behind my back,” Hoey alleged.

Hoey claimed he didn’t hit back, but went limp and fell to the ground. Witnesses pulled the driver off him, and three Vancouver police officers arrived.

He said he wonders why police talked to the driver first, when he was “slumped over” outside Cactus Club. According to Hoey, officers then asked him “Why weren’t you in the bike lane?”, didn’t allow him to tell his side of the story, and kept the business cards handed to him by witnesses.

“When they actually approached me, they didn’t offer me any assistance,” Hoey said. “They already had basically the story in their mind. The officer that talked to me was shutting me down essentially based on what they already heard, I assume, from the driver. Quite early on in me giving my testimony, she was telling me that I wasn’t allowed to talk anymore. She was essentially talking over me, saying that this is how it was—that it was a voluntary fight, that there was no recourse.”

In a statement today, the Vancouver Police Department said the incident was due to a “disagreement over the use of a bike lane”.

“Police drove the cyclist to the hospital, where he was treated for minor injuries and released. At this time, after speaking to witnesses about the events leading up and to including the physical altercation, there is insufficient evidence to request a charge against either man,” the VPD statement reads.

“A number of photos have been distributed on social media depicting the final moments of the physical altercation. This is unfortunate, as the photos appear to paint an incomplete picture of the event. Police take these incidents very seriously, and the photographs will be forwarded to investigators to ensure all aspects of the investigation have been exhausted.”

Hoey said that, even though there’s a “war” between drivers and cyclists in the city, altercations such as this one are thankfully an anomaly.

He’s hoping the Facebook photos of the incident will serve as a warning to other cyclists to watch out for the driver he encountered.

Comments (49) Add New Comment
Bela Bugliosi
He should be disturbed because it appears that VPD gave preferential treatment to a violent motorist...possibly a plain clothes policeman or CSIS agent.
Rating: -20
If both of these guys (especially the driver) had gone for a massage & happy ending at one of Vancouver's many spas, this incident may not have happened.
Rating: -45
Given the appearance of the driver, the move he used, and the blatant biasbias of the police handling, I wonder if the driver was a plainsclothes policeman. In that case its a simple case of the cops protecting their own.
Rating: +21
The license plate # is in the photosphotos, and it's a small city. It's only a matter of time before we find out who the driver is.
Rating: +9
some much judgement. the pictures show/prove nothing. The person on the bike reached into the drivers car to try and take personal property. If someone tried that to steal from me I would react in a similar way. His mode of transportation would be irrelevent.

that aside i am curious to know why the bike was not in the bike lane.
Rating: -29
what was the reason that the motorist became upset?
Rating: -12
If the laws say anything on the situation, it's that left turns are made from the left side of the street (i.e. not the bike lane). But most of us are more scared of drivers intending to hurt us than unintentionally hurt us, so we do things that the law doesn't say are explicitly legal (turning from the bike lane or otherwise) but seem to make sense.

Apparently that's justified - the VPD doesn't understand assault, let alone traffic regulations. The person on the bicycle was the only one being treated for injuries, and the only traffic law broken was by the driver in entering the bike lane. This isn't complicated.
Rating: +31
Stephen Chessor
Rating: -18
Gh: victim blaming. A witness account explains exactly what happened on the Facebook page.

Also the cyclist was well within his rights not being in the bike lane. Bike lanes are NOT mandatory to use, they are there for those uncomfortable in traffic. We pay our taxes and are PERMITTED to use the road like any other vehicle.

Way to drop the ball VPD. The three stooges of law enforcement.

How about you POLICE the community, and keep us safe from psychopaths that try to run people off the road?

Or does it have to happen to you before you feel something about this kind of incident.
Rating: +14
full story

Judge for yourself based on what a witness says.

Shame. Shame on the VPD
Rating: +6
full story

Edward was accosted by a driver while turning left from Hornby onto Dunsmuir. The driver then attempted to drive his car into Edward while yelling at him causing him have to make evasive action and crash into the sidewalk. This resulted in Edward flipping over his handlebars.

After a minor verbal confrontation, with Edward standing beside the car, the driver grabbed Edward’s hand, which was resting on his passenger side door, pulled him inside the vehicle and said “I have 15 years of Martial Arts training and I’m going to fuck you up”. Edward managed to free himself and grabbed some papers off the passenger seat and threw them onto the sidewalk. The driver surged his car forward and attempted again to run Edward over with his vehicle and then got out and proceeded to assault Edward in front of several witnesses. It took approx. 5-6 people to pull the driver off of him.

The police were called by witnesses and it took 15-30 minutes for them to arrive, during which time the driver was texting and making quiet calls on his phone. Upon arrival, officers proceeded to spend approx 10 minutes talking with the driver while Edward sat alone, bleeding and in shock from his injuries. The first question the police officer asked Edward, before he was allowed to make his statement, was “why weren’t you in the bike lane?”.

The assault was deemed to be a voluntary fight and police refused to press charges. Various witnesses came forward but the officers did not seem interested in taking statements. The officers then confiscated the various business cards given to Edward by witnesses (one of which was stained with his blood) and let the driver go as they had already decided that the altercation was a “voluntary fight”.

Edward’s shoulder is badly sprained, his skin and clothes are ripped and his bicycle needs minor fixing. Please share the photo of this driver and be aware that the driver in these photos is a danger to fellow cyclists and is still at large. Please share this album to inform others about what happened. — in Please share- Violent assault on cyclist in Vancouver
Rating: +13
If any of you would even bother to do your research you would have your info on why he wasn't in the bike lane..."Edward was accosted by a driver while turning left from Hornby onto Dunsmuir. The driver then attempted to drive his car into Edward while yelling at him causing him have to make evasive action and crash into the sidewalk. This resulted in Edward flipping over his handlebars." taken from
The driver is in the wrong, the cyclist was allowed to be outside of his lane in order for him to make a left-hand turn.
I swear, the ignorance in these comments is sickening...half the law is knowing the law.
Rating: +25
Bela Bugliosi
Your efforts are appreciated, full story, but this is a city where the police can shoot a man in the head while he crawls unarmed and wounded in the street and nothing happens to the executioner even though this murder was caught on video. It's a city where two plain clothes detectives can viciously beat up the wrong suspect in a domestic complaint and the media fails to question why police feel justified in assaulting a citizen..whether or not they have committed a crime.

Police in Canada are emboldened by the countless times they have escaped justice. Police beating up criminals doesn't seem to bother your average Canadian who is too self centered to realize that criminals will eventually "get even" for the police injustice by taking it out on a civilian. How can one not see police in Canada as corrupt sadistic bullies who do more to perpetuate crime than doing the job they are paid for..keeping the peace?
Rating: -5
Carrying bear spray in my top tube bag for protection from thugs like this guy. Vigilante Justice!
Rating: +3
Quick! Get to a bike friendly media outlet! Both are idiots but how one ends up with papers in hand after being "pulled" into an open window is a curiosity. Why would one grab into something inside the vehicle if trying to get one's hand out?
Rating: +16
Logicus The Great
To address some of the rampant idiocy that is going on in these comments right now:

• It is legal for a cyclist to ride on the road in Vancouver. Even when a bike lane is present.

• In a large number of circumstances it is safer to ride in a vehicular lane, rather than a bike lane. It is irrelevant whether or not you feel that this inconveniences you.

• Even if this cyclist was not in the bike lane, (Which is legal) that does not justify assault.

• Using a vehicle to run someone off the road is illegal.

• It does not matter if you once saw a cyclist ride through a red light. This is completely irrelevant and does not justify assault.

• Bike lanes are a miniscule fraction of transportation infrastructure budgets. Cyclists pay taxes. Statistically, most cyclists also own an automobile. People who do not drive a vehicle actually SUBSIDIZE THOSE WHO DO. Every mile driven is a net economic loss due to wear and tear on existing roadways. Every mile cycled is a net economic gain. Bicycles cause a nearly non-existent amount of wear and tear. Despite what some may think, road infrastructure is NOT funded solely by gas taxes, vehicle registration or car insurance (What?)

• None of the previous is in any way relevant to the assault being discussed.
Rating: +35
Wear your helmet
@ Full story was written by Edward.
Rating: -3
cul de sac
sorry but if the cyclist had not escalated the situation he wouldn't have had his ass kicked. he didn't deserve the violence but he kinda asked for it.
Rating: -25
Michael Castanaveras
You can't really know a man until you pedal 100 miles on his wheels.

Make half the downtown cops ride pedicabs on their patrols. Electric motor turns on for emergency speed only when sirens are on. If they need to lock someone up they pedal their ass to the slammer.

That'll provide cops some cyclist "sensitivity training".
Rating: -6
Over the past few years I have had to deal with the police and from my personal experiences as well as stories like this my opinions of the local police departments and the personnel working within them has plummeted. They are no better and in many cases far worse than the "criminals" which they supposedly protect us all from. If a junkie tries to swipe my bike to feed their habit and get caught they don't get to hide behind the protection of their brother junkies. But the minute an officer of the law is caught operating on the wrong side of the fence a magical shield appears and protects them from most penalties the rest of us would expect to face. And seriously how far and with what effort do you think the police investigate one of their own? The manner in which only one side of this incident was apparently given any weight as well as the confiscation of witness information definitely suggests that the police arrived onscene with a fully fleshed story already in their heads and were not going to look into anything that might run counter. Why he wasn't given back the witness information is baffling unless the police wanted to prevent the cyclist from obtaining support for his side of the story. Regardless of the criminal law aspects, those witnesses and their contact information might also be needed in the event of any insurance claims or civil actions. The police have no right or mandate to confiscate this type of property. They all carry notebooks and have recording devices. The witness info could have been copied if they had wanted it. They didn't they just didn't want the cyclist to have it.
Rating: +13


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