Toronto Police to Ticket Cyclists and Motor Vehicles Ignoring Cyclist’s Space

Update: see previous post – 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, if the wheels of the bike are larger than 61 centimetres or 24 inches - if a cyclist is caught riding on the sidewalk they will receive a $90.00 ticket.

The rules of the road are the rules of the road and must be respected and adhered to by motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.

Since the preventable accident in Toronto’s Chinatown, shortly before 11:00 a.m. on July 5, 2011, where a 49-year-old male cyclist (allegedly running a red light and entering a one-way street in the wrong direction) crashed into a 55-year-old female pedestrian (who was crossing the street on a green light) which resulted in the pedestrian’s skull being fractured, people have been up-in-arms.

A number of upset Torontonians have come up with different action plans which they believe will address the myriad of problems that they believe cyclists in the city are responsible for.

On June 13, 2011 the Toronto Police Traffic Services launched its’ annual “Watch for Bikes” campaign.

On July 5, 2011  Toronto Police have decided to step up enforcement of laws that cyclists must adhere to:

  • riding bicycles on sidewalks
  • riding bicycles without helmets
  • riding bicycles in and around traffic dangerously

Police will at the same time, step up enforcement of laws that motor vehicles must comply with around cyclists:

  • driving in bicycle lanes
  • making right turns without failing to look to see if it is safe first
  • opening their vehicle doors improperly

Driver’s who neglect to properly check their surroundings before turning right at streets/roads and intersections is the leading cause for injury and death of pedestrians and cyclists.

The Toronto Police Services Board will review Toronto’s often confusing cycling by-laws later in July, with the objective of updating these by-laws and educating the public.

Motor Vehicle – Bicycle Collisions in Toronto:

  • 2011 – Up to May 31/11 – 106 motor vehicle – bicycle collisions, 40 “Open Vehicle Door Improperly” charges have been laid against motorists. There were 1,894 traffic tickets issued to cyclists and 2,718 tickets issued to pedestrians.
  • 2010 – 1,290 motor vehicle – bicycle collisions
  • 2008 to 2009 – 985 motor vehicle – bicycle collisions
  • August 2007 to August 2008 – 1,155 motor vehicle – bicycle collisions


Toronto’s City Council May Consider Licensing of Cyclists

City councillor David Shiner wants to clamp down on cyclists in the city and is considering licensing bicycle riders and have their bicycle’s bearing licence plates.

Here is what the City of Toronto’s website says about Bicycle licensing History:

Toronto’s Bicycle Licensing History

On May 20, 1935 the City of Toronto passed a bylaw to license residents owning and using bicycles on the highways of the City.

The licensing process was quite complicated. Cyclists had to apply for a license through City Hall. Then the cyclist was required to go to a police station and have a police officer inspect the bicycle and fill out paperwork. That paper work was returned to City Hall and a license was granted. The cyclists then had to return a duplicate license to the same Police Inspector where the bicycle was examined. Then a metal plate was issued for the year and affixed to the mudguard of the bike.

Any time the cyclist moved or transferred or exchanged his bike, the new information had to be filed. The cost of the yearly license was 50 cents and the fine for not having a license on your bicycle was $5.00.

On February 4, 1957, City Council repealed the bicycle licensing by-law in the City. At that time, there was a communication from the Canada Cycle and Motor Company Limited suggesting the City use the services of the Bicycle Guild Incorporated to administer bicycle licensing.

At that time, the City opted out of bicycle licensing, stating amongst other issues that “licensing of bicycles be discontinued because it often results in an unconscious contravention of the law at a very tender age; they also emphasize the resulting poor public relations between police officers and children”. Nathan Phillips was the Mayor at the time and it is his signature on the by-law amendment.

The City of Toronto has investigated licensing cyclists on at least three occasions in the recent past:

* 1984: focus on bike theft
* 1992: focus on riding on sidewalks, traffic law compliance and couriers
* 1996: focus on riding on sidewalks, traffic law compliance and couriers

Licensing in the nineties has been most often discussed in response to concerns for pedestrian safety on sidewalks, where incidents of collisions, near misses, and a lack of courtesy have made many pedestrians, including seniors feel insecure.

Each time the City has rejected licensing as a solution to the problem under discussion.

The major reasons why licensing has been rejected are:

* The difficulty in keeping a database complete and current
* The difficulty in licensing children, given that they ride bikes too
* Licensing in and of itself does not change the behaviour of cyclists who are disobeying traffic laws.


Update: July 8, 2011 – Why is careless driving not a crime?


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