Saskatoon man says police overreacted in cycling arrest

On this, “Bike to Work Day” in Saskatoon, a cautionary tale that begins with a pleasant bike ride to a downtown Yoga studio, and ends with a long day in a police lock-up.

Jon Bailey says he spent hours in a police cell

Jon Bailey says he was arrested after breaking cycling bylaws. (Courtesy Jon Bailey )

On this,  “Bike to Work Day” in Saskatoon, a cautionary tale that begins with a pleasant bike ride to a downtown Yoga studio, and ends with a long day in a police lock-up.

At that point something went a little haywire in my mind- Jon Bailey 

Late last month, Jon Bailey was cycling to a session of hot Yoga on a quiet Sunday morning when he decided to ride up on the sidewalk to lock up his bike.

That’s when a police officer on a bike rode up and informed Bailey that riding on the sidewalk breaks a city bylaw. The officer also noted that Bailey did not have a bell on his bike, another violation. 

“I started to explain to the officer that I didn’t know about the bicycle bylaws,” said Bailey.

Things went from bad to worse

According to Bailey, the police officer asked him to show him some identification. Bailey refused, asking instead for some explanation from the officer.  Police warned him he would be arrested for obstruction of justice.

“At that point something went a little bit haywire in my mind,” said Bailey. “I just sort of thought that I think I have the right to remain silent here and I just remained silent and that’s when I was arrested.”

Bailey was handcuffed in front of the Yoga studio as other members of the class gathered on the sidewalk. Eventually, he was transported to the police station where he was locked-up, waiting to be fingerprinted and photographed.

"When you are suddenly confronted with the immediate loss of freedoms that you've always enjoyed and that you've taken for granted, it's an emotional roller coaster."

According to Bailey, he was detained in the police cells for hours. So he passed the time doing what he had set out to do that day and practiced Yoga.

"The Yoga was helping me to not descend into self-pity and anger and these emotions that were very near the surface."

Now, weeks later, with time to assess what happened to him, Bailey fully admits he broke city cycling bylaws, and that he should have handed over his identification. At the same time, he remains defiant in his belief that police took this too far, and overreacted to the situation.

Cyclists must follow the rules

When contacted by CBC, a Saskatoon police spokesperson Kelsie Fraser said people riding bicycles have to follow the rules of the Traffic Safety Act and city bylaws.

"Anytime that somebody is unhappy with the police response or the police treatment that they received, we want them to file that complaint," Fraser added.

That’s exactly what Bailey is doing. He filed a public complaint against police citing abuse of process and an unnecessarily extended detention. 

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