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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.

THE RULES NOW

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

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Are Toronto Police Ticketing Cyclists More?

From the Forums:

The Bike Union is reporting that some cyclists are reporting that the police are looking for cycling infractions more recently:
http://bikeunion.to/news/2010/03/02/ticket-alert-cyclists-reporting-more-fines-police-attention

Have you noticed anything? It’s been the same on my commute (I hardly *ever* see any cops).

The Union offers a few good tips too:

“Please also note that officers should not be asking you for a driver’s license, though you should provide ID when asked. Demerit Points DO NOT apply for cycling infractions.
If you receive a ticket for an infraction, please make sure that it is noted as a cycling infraction. If you should encounter an officer who says different, please take note of their name/badge number (should be on the ticket i f you receive one) and get in touch with us via info@bikeunion.to – we will share this information with our contacts at Police Services and try to make sure that accurate information is shared with the officer in question.”

On the issue of ticketing… I am glad that cops are ticketing cyclists.

Bad behaviour by some cyclists make us as a whole look bad. I’d rather take a bit longer to get to work by stopping at red lights and not thinking I’m the most important thing on the road, and really don’t understand any cyclist who thinks differently.

What are your thoughts?

(top photo by Darren Stehr via Mez Dispenser)
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