Toronto in Process of Updating and Harmonizing Cyclist Bylaws & Considers Licensing Cyclists

Update: see previous posts – 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”

see source

Cyclists can walk their bicycles on sidewalks, but cannot ride their bicycles on sidewalks in Toronto

The Toronto Police Services Board has raised the issue of licensing cyclists after Chief Bill Blair said the lack of a licence makes enforcement difficult.

Councillor Frances Nunziata, a board member, said her constituents in York South-Weston express concerns about cyclists going through red lights and stop signs and risking public safety.

Because the current data collection method lumps most Highway Traffic Act offences together, there are few specific numbers on cyclist infractions.

Until a new computer system is in place, an accurate breakdown will be hard to come by.

Nunziata asked Blair if licensing cyclists would help enforce the law.

The chief said it would “create a certain accountability that would assist us in enforcement.”

Cyclists are considered drivers and face most of the same charges and fines as a motorist under the Highway Traffic Act.

However, bicyclists are not licensed and don’t need a driver’s licence, so it makes enforcement harder, Blair told the board.

There has been one cyclist fatality in the city this year, and one in all of 2010. There have been 28 pedestrian fatalities to date.

However, biking advocate Andrea Garcia said licensing cyclists would not only create a “disincentive” to bike, it would come at a cost to taxpayers “with no discernible benefit.”

The spokeswoman for the 1,700-member Toronto Cyclists Union added that council has considered the idea before and rejected it.

Cyclist riding on sidewalk with one hand, while speaking on a cellphone with the other

But Nunziata said licensing cyclists may find favour with this council.

“I think there might be a will. I think it’s time we look at it. I would like to pursue it,” she said Friday. “I think it’s very important.”

In a report to the board, the chief presented some enforcement statistics specific to cyclists under the Highway Traffic Act, most dealing with equipment issues.

To date in 2011, there have been 2,248 charges under the act for improper lighting, 760 for improper brakes and 2,922 charges for having no horn or bicycle bell. Blair’s report, although citing tickets issued for cyclist violations, any tickets or statistics regarding cyclist’s riding on sidewalks (in Toronto, bicycles with a wheel diameter greater than 61 centimetres are not allowed on sidewalks) was conspicuously absent, despite the City’s pledge to begin to enforce these bylaw violations which have resulted in pedestrian deaths.

The board also discussed bringing in harmonized bylaws across the city. Currently, there are seven pre-amalgamation bylaw zones; infractions and fines vary from $3.75 in some areas to $85 in others.

There are also limitations within the police computer system when trying to separate municipal bylaw offences for some cyclist violations, Blair said.

“A uniform bylaw with one chapter and offence number/section would simplify the data analysis collection and enhance the accuracy of the information when required,” Blair wrote in his report.

In July, 2011 the Toronto police services board sent a report on updating and harmonizing Toronto cycling bylaws to the Toronto Public Works committee. Once the cycling bylaws are both updated and harmonized, they will be sent to City Council to pass into law.

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