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Inconsistencies in Antiquated Bicycle Bylaws

Via TheStar.com

In downtown Toronto, cyclists caught zipping down sidewalks can get slapped with a $90 fine.

The same offence elsewhere will only cost you lunch money: In Scarborough and North York, a ticket for riding on the sidewalk is $3.75.

That odd gap, which has remained since the city’s amalgamation, highlights a problem with the bylaws that govern how we share our streets. The rules are antiquated.

“These are decade-old bylaws that were enacted when bicycles were just pedal bikes,” said Const. Hugh Smith, of Toronto police traffic services. “We need some clarification,” said the avid cyclist, who founded the Toronto police bicycle units in 1989.


Bicycles: Drivers are expected to use bike lanes or roads. Only bicycles with tires less than 61 cm in diameter are legally allowed to use the sidewalk. Cyclists have the right to take up a whole lane if it is not wide enough to share.

Electric bicycles: The province has deemed them bicycles, not motorized vehicles. Drivers are expected to follow the same rules as a cyclist.

Motorized wheelchairs: Drivers are expected to follow the same rules as pedestrians and travel at a walking pace. Drivers are not permitted to travel on roads unless the sidewalk is unsafe, due to snow or some other obstruction. If they must use the road, they are expected to keep to the side. Drivers are not permitted to use bike lanes.

Mopeds: Drivers are expected to follow the same rules as cars. Mopeds are not allowed on sidewalks or in bike lanes.

Segways: In pilot-test phase until October 2011. They are allowed on sidewalks and roads when driven by Canada Post workers, police officers and those aged 14 or older with mobility issues.

Read the full article Antiquated bike bylaws need updating: police

Const. Hugh Smith photo via LUCAS OLENIUK/TORONTO STAR

  • scanner

    I am cautious about this kind of stuff because I see vehicular bicyclists lurking behind it.

  • scanner
  • I’m also starting to get quite concerned about the e-bikes with small wheels getting onto sidewalks through this legal loophole…Aside from kids and the occasional elderly rider…There’s no reasonable excuse for raising the odds of an accident on the sidewalk, because somebody chooses to ride at speed along them…IMHO

    Here’s my rationale when it comes to busy downtown sidewalks :


    Just Sayin

  • I think its high time that the bicycle cops start policing bicycles in Toronto, instead of playing “follow the leader” and waiting for their Critical Response Calls!

    It seems that the cruiser cops don’t want to get out of their nice warm cars to write tickets for those vehicles parked in the bike lanes, so lets get the bike cops to do it!

    If an electric e-bike does not have pedals on it , then it is not an e-bike. means the owner took the pedals off to either make it go faster or to make it look like a cool scooter.

    Give me a book of parking authority tickets, and I will write them up for parking tin the bike lane. I mean after all the city needs the money!

  • rusty

    HPVrider…Before the bicycle cops in this city start handing out tickets to cyclists, I’d like to see them following the bylaws and HTA themselves. I routinely see them going the wrong way on one-ways, riding on sidewalks on sidestreets in my neighbourhood, riding 3-4 abreast taking up the whole road and never stopping at intersections. Not much different than the cops in cars, however. I am an avid roadie, and yes, have rolled my share of stop signs as well, but am generally observant of the traffic rules. If I am going to get a ticket for something (either on my bike or in a car) I’ve done, fair enough, but it drives me to no end that the people giving me the ticket feel like those same rules don’t apply to them. This is an attitude that must change.

  • Colin Simons

    Get off the sidewalks period. I have had to move aside for cyclists who are ADULTS riding their bikes on the sidewalks here in Etobicoke. When I tell them they’re breaking the law they tell me to frack off in other colourful language. I’m tired of this and expect Toronto’s highly paid professional police services to start ticketing these self centred morons. Send a message. Maybe if tickets are so lax maybe I should start driving my car along the sidewalks too!

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