City of Toronto Is Considering Licensing Cyclists

Update: see previous posts – January 4, 2011 Toronto Takes Advantage of Rush Hour Gridlock By Tripling Parking Fine$, October 24, 2011 Toronto in Process of Updating and Harmonizing Cyclist Bylaws & Considers Licensing Cyclists, September 28, 2011 Results of Sept.27/11 Bicycle/Pedestrian Blitz on Danforth Ave/Broadview Ave, September 16, 2011 Casual cyclists feel much safer on sidewalks, rather then the Road, September 7, 2011 Opening of Doors of Motor Vehicles,  September 5, 2011 Bike Trails Through Two Hydro Corridors and Leaside Rail Corridor, August 11, 2011 Bicycle Safety Called for by Ontario Medical Association, August 9, 2011 Police/T.T.C Target Drivers/Pedestrians/Cyclists at T.T.C Stops from Aug.8 – 14, 2011, August 5, 2011 Results of Bicycle/Pedestrian Blitz on August 3 & 4, 2011, August 2, 2011 – Bicycle/Driver/Pedestrian Blitz on Danforth Ave from Victoria Park to Broadview Ave on August 3 & 4/11, July 30, 2011 Pedestrian Injured by Cyclist Calls for Regulated Cycling in Toronto, July 28, 2011 Bicycle Helmets Lead to Fewer Head Injuries for Cyclist’s Who Wear Them, July 17, 2011 Cyclists Ignore the Signs at Kew Gardens, July 13, 2011 Toronto Bicycle Lanes Eliminated, July 9, 2011 Cyclists Continue Riding the Wrong Way on a One-Way Street (Huron Street), July 8, 2011 Toronto Police to Ticket Cyclists and Motor Vehicles Ignoring Cyclist’s Space, July 7, 2011 Careless Driving Causing Death?, May 4, 2011 Police Charge Parent of Young Cyclist Not Wearing His Bicycle Helmet, May 2, 2011 Cyclist on Powered-Assisted Bicycle Charged with Not Wearing a Helmet and Impaired Driving, March 9, 2011 Cyclist Launches 20 Million Lawsuit against Cycling Club & Association, January 27, 2011 Time to Update the Cycling Laws in Toronto & Ontario?, January 8, 2011 Toronto is Ready to Invest in the Safety of Cyclists,December 22, 2010   Toronto’s First Count of Downtown Cyclists (Sept. 2010) , November 8, 2010 Week Long Pedestrian Safety Campaign/Blitz, October 10, 2010 Bike Boxes , September 16, 2010 Private Member’s Bill requires a minimum of one metre paved shoulder be added whenever designated provincial highways are repaved to reduce accidents/fatalities , August 26, 2010 Police Lay 400 Charges Against Cyclists/Pedestrians , May 19, 2010 Motorists Must Stay 3,4 or 5 Feet Away from Bicyclists , March 29, 2010 Toronto’s Zero-Tolerance Bicycle Blitz , November 16, 2009 Most Dangerous Intersections for Pedestrians – Toronto (2008) , October 12, 2009 Idaho Stop Law , September 7, 2009 Toronto Police Bicycle Safety Blitz , March 21, 2009,  Bicycle Accidents Toronto, Reported in 2008 , December 20, 2008 City of Toronto Considering Installing “Rumble Strips”

On January 4, 2012 the City of  Toronto’s Public Works and Infrastructure Committee met to discuss the harmonization and enforcement of different City by-laws with respect to bicycle’s with wheel sizes that exceed 61 cm’s, riding on sidewalks.  The Public Works and Infrastructure Committee has referred this item to an official or other body without making a decision.

Cyclists can walk their bicycles on sidewalks, but cannot ride their bicycles on sidewalks. Cyclists cannot ride their large bicycles (wheels larger than 61 cm’s or 24 inches) on the sidewalk – violators will face a $90.00 fine

At present there are seven (7) by-laws covering the City with fines for riding a bicycle on a sidewalk, ranging from $3.75 in some areas to $85.00 in others.  These fines are based on pre-almalgamation by-laws of the former cities and boroughs.  As such, these by-laws and associated fines regulating sidewalk cycling across the City need to be updated, clarified and harmonized to permit effective enforcement to improve pedestrian and cycling safety.

In addition to simple harmonization/enforcement of sidewalk cycling by-laws and the reporting and cataloguing of these incidents, this committee is now looking on a licensing regime for cyclists. City Councillor David Shiner, a member of the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee, has requested that the General Manager of Transportation report back to the March 2012 Committee meeting on the licensing regime.

Councillor/Committee member David Shiner moved this motion in response to the concerns raised by Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair wherein, in response to questions by the Board, Chief Blair described the challenges that police officers experience when trying to enforce the provisions of the Highway Traffic Act that apply to cyclists. Chief Blair also said that, as an example, there is no licensing regime for bicycles which makes it difficult for police officers to identify cyclists as opposed to their ability to identify drivers of vehicles given that drivers are required to have a licence. Section 218 of the Highway Traffic Act (Cyclist To Identify Self) was enacted to deal with this:

Highway Traffic ActSection 218 (1) Cyclist to Identify Self A police officer, who pulls over a cyclist, whom he/she believes has contravened the Highway Traffic Act or a section of the Municipal Act, has the right to ask the cyclist to identify themselves. All the cyclist must do, is to provide their name and address. No affirmative obligation exists for a bicycle rider to carry identity documentation. The bicycle rider meets his/her obligation under this section of the Highway Traffic Act, by simply providing their correct name and correct address. If the police officer wants to generate a ticket, it should contain the same name and address provided to him or her, by the bicycle rider. Section 218 (2) states:

Cyclist to Identify Self

218. (1) A police officer who finds any person contravening this Act or any municipal by-law regulating traffic while in charge of a bicycle may require that person to stop and to provide identification of himself or herself.

(2) Every person who is required to stop, by a police officer acting under subsection (1), shall stop and identify himself or herself to the police officer.

(3) For the purposes of this section, giving one’s correct name and address is sufficient identification.

(4) A police officer may arrest without warrant any person who does not comply with subsection (2).

The Public Works and Infrastructure Committee referred Item PW11.1, together with the following motions by Councillors Perks and Shiner, to the General Manager, Transportation Services, with the request that he meet with the appropriate Toronto Police Service staff to develop a strategy for effective enforcement of the sidewalk cycling by-law and report back to the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee on or before the June 2012 meeting on the recommended enforcement strategy and the status of the harmonized set fines for the sidewalk cycling by-law:

Here is what happened at the January 4, 2012 meeting:

Motion by Councillor Gord Perks:

That the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee request the General Manager, Transportation Services, to create a database that allows the public to report and describe pedestrian and cycling conflicts and map conflict spots; and further that the database be hosted on a City web site and publicized to encourage reporting.


Motion by Councillor David Shiner:

That the Deputy City Manager, Cluster B, be requested to report to the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee on:

a.         including a referral information service to callers on how to report cycling incidents; and

b.         how 311 can log and report cycling incidents.


Motion by Councillor David Shiner:

That the General Manager, Transportation Services, be requested to report to the March 2012 meeting of the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee on a licensing regime for cyclists.


Motion by Councillor David Shiner:
That City Council request the Toronto Police Service to enhance its enforcement of the current by-laws regarding illegal cycling on sidewalks.










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