June is Bike Month in Ontario, and as more people put down their car keys and take to their bicycles, some cyclists may be surprised to learn that they can be ticketed for traffic offences, just like drivers, and face the same fines.
Cycling season is here, and according to the province, around 1.2 million adults in Ontario ride a bicycle daily during the spring, summer and fall, and 2.8 million people ride a bike at least once a week. Cycling is increasingly popular, and as more people choose to cycle, some may be surprised to learn that they can also earn a traffic ticket for not following the rules of the road; much in the same way they could if they were driving a car.
A bicycle is a vehicle
Cyclists do not need to register or plate their bicycle, and they don’t have to have a driver’s licence or auto insurance. However, under Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act, a bicycle is a vehicle just like a car, truck or motorcycle. As a result, riders must heed the same rules of the road—as well as some laws that are specific to bikes—or risk getting pulled over and fined.
What types of tickets can a cyclist get?
In general, any ticket a driver can get under Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act, a cyclist can get too. A cyclist can be ticketed for failing to stop at a red light or stop sign, going the wrong way on a one-way street, failing to signal, failing to stop for a school bus, and even careless, to name just a few examples. The fines are essentially the same as well: whether on a bike or in a car, you’ll have to pay the set fine, plus the victim fine surcharge and court costs too. For example, an $85 fine for disobeying a stop sign, will actually cost you around $110 in the end.
There are also traffic tickets that are specific to cyclists. For example, you can get a ticket for:
Not outfitting your bicycle with proper lighting: Cyclists must have proper lights, reflective materials and reflectors on their bicycles and failing to have these could result in a ticket with a set fine of $85.
Riding a bicycle that does not have a working bell: All bicycles must be equipped with a working bell or horn so you can alert other riders, drivers and pedestrians on your presence, if needed. The set fine for this ticket is $85.
Riding double: Riding double, on a bicycle built for one, could also net you a ticket for $85.
Many municipalities also have their own specific bylaws that, if not followed, could lead to a ticket for riders. Toronto, for example, has a bylaw in place that stipulates, “no person age 14 and older may ride a bicycle on a sidewalk”. The fine for riding a bicycle on a sidewalk is $60.
Pulled over while cycling, now what?
Unlike driving, you’re not required to carry identification when cycling. But, that doesn’t mean you can get out of a ticket if you happen to get pulled over. If you are not carrying any identification, you are required to provide the officer with your correct name and address. Being evasive or lying about who you are, could earn you another ticket at best (for failing to identify yourself), or in the worst-case scenario, arrest.
Do bike infractions come with demerit points?
They’re not supposed to, because even though a bicycle is a vehicle, it is not a motor vehicle; an important distinction when it comes to demerit points. Any ticket you get while cycling should not result in demerit points added to your driver’s licence.
Of course, mistakes happen, as one Toronto-area cyclist learned last year. After paying his ticket for running a red light on his bike, months later he learned that three demerit points were added to his driving record in error. If you should get a ticket while cycling, review it before leaving to make sure it is listed as a cycling infraction and not a motor vehicle infraction. Otherwise, you may have to fight the ticket in court.
Do cycling infractions affect your auto insurance?
Again, no, they shouldn’t. If the ticket is recorded as a cycling infraction, any ticket you get while cycling should not affect your auto insurance coverage.
“Bicycle infractions are not applied to the driving record,” confirms Ministry of Transportation (Ontario) spokesman Bob Nichols in an email exchange with Kanetix.ca. “If the officer states on the ticket that a bicycle was used, the convicting court does not send the information to the Ministry of Transportation.”
Since the ticket wouldn’t (or shouldn’t) be on your driving record, it would not affect your premiums.
Avoid getting a ticket, and ride—and drive—safely.
Road safety is enhanced, when everyone—cyclists, drivers and pedestrians—are predictable, and by following the rules of the road we can all get to where we want to go, safely and ticket-free.
ICBC’s road safety speaker, Kevin Brooks, is touring the Southern Interior to share his personal, heart-wrenching story with local high school students during graduation season to remind them of the importance of making smart driving decisions.
From his wheelchair, Kevin tells the story of how he lost his friend one Saturday night while driving drunk. He has inspired tens of thousands of young people who follow him and his story on his blog and social media channels.
Emergency room physician, Dr. Graham Dodd, will also be touring the region speaking about his first-hand experience to help youth understand the real, devastating effects of crashes.
During graduation season from April to June in the Southern Interior, on average, 1,000 crashes occur involving young drivers and 254 youth are injured.*
“Young drivers tend to be inexperienced, over-confident and take more risks behind the wheel,” said John Nepomuceno, ICBC road safety program manager. “Our speakers share their stories to get teens reflecting on the dangers of taking risks behind the wheel and help them make safer choices.”
ICBC is committed to supporting youth in developing strong decision-making skills on the road to help prevent crashes and save lives. Over the past two decades, ICBC’s road safety speakers have been sharing their stories with approximately 50,000 B.C. high school students every year.
You can find video clips of the speakers and more details on their presentations on icbc.com. ICBC also invests in various road safety programs for students including K-10 school curriculum and B.C.’s graduated licensing program.
Six cyclists are injured every day in the summer in B.C., so ICBC is urging drivers and cyclists to take extra care on our roads as we near Bike to Work Week (May 28 to June 3).
As ridership increases in the summer, so does the number of cyclist-related crashes. In B.C., 760 cyclists are injured and seven are killed in car crashes from June to September every year.*
“More crashes mean more deaths, injuries and claims, which is why we need to work together to make roads safer,” said Lindsay Matthews, ICBC’s acting vice-president responsible for road safety. “We sponsor Bike to Work Week as an opportunity to educate both drivers and cyclists. It’s part of our commitment to support road safety programs throughout the province. Whether you’re a driver or a cyclist, please do your part to drive smart.”
Tips for drivers:
As a driver, you see cyclists when you really look for them. Stay alert, especially at intersections, and be ready to yield the right-of-way.
Watch for cyclists on the road and make eye contact if you can, so they can anticipate your next move.
Shoulder check for cyclists before turning right and watch for oncoming cyclists before turning left. Scan for cyclists before you enter the roadway from an alley or get in and out of a parking spot.
Both drivers and passengers must shoulder check for cyclists before opening their vehicle door. Not only will it keep cyclists safe, it will help you avoid a dooring violation and fine too.
Maintain at least three seconds of following distance behind cyclists and at least one metre when passing a cyclist. Don’t risk side-swiping or running a cyclist off the road.
Tips for cyclists:
Obey all traffic signs and signals and follow the rules of the road.
Use designated bike routes whenever possible – they’re safer and reduce conflicts with vehicle traffic. Check your local municipality’s website for designated bike routes or visit TransLink.ca for maps of cycling routes in Metro Vancouver.
If there’s no bike lane, keep to the right-hand side of the road as much as it’s safe to do so. It’s illegal to ride on most sidewalks and crosswalks – it puts pedestrians in danger and drivers don’t expect cyclists to enter the roadway from a sidewalk.
Use caution around parked vehicles. Be aware of people in vehicles and taxis to avoid getting hit by an opening door. It’s best to keep at least one metre away from parked vehicles.
Before making any turns, shoulder check and hand signal in advance. Remember, drivers sometimes fail to yield right-of-way.
For more information about cycling, and videos about these tips, visit our cycling safety page on icbc.com.
In the Lower Mainland, on average, 1,100 cyclists are injured and five killed every year.
On Vancouver Island, on average, 320 cyclists are injured and three killed every year.
In the Southern Interior, on average, 160 cyclists are injured and three killed every year.
In the North Central region, on average, 22 cyclists are injured from every year.
*Based on a five-year average using 2012 to 2016 police fatality data and 2013 to 2017 ICBC injury data.
There were 4,873 tickets for speeding and aggressive driving issued by police during the April Traffic Safety Spotlight on speeding.
Whoa, that’s a lot of speeders. One might say those numbers “quickly” added up.
Lame jokes aside, it’s time to #SlowDown, Saskatchewan. Excessive speed is one of the leading factors in traffic-related deaths and injuries. If you speed, you’re more likely to get into a collision, and the faster your speed, the worse the collision.
Remember: speeding tickets in Saskatchewan got more expensive as of May 1. The base fine on all speeding tickets has increased by $30 and the km/h charge for travelling in excess of the posted speed has doubled.
What do these increased speeding fines look like? Exceeding the speed limit by 20 km/h on a regular street or highway triggers a total fine of $190, including the Victims of Crime surcharge and km/h charges. In a school zone, 20 km/h over the limit costs you $310. If you speed past workers in a 60 km/h orange zone, you’ll shell out $440 for going 80, and $1,008 for going 100!
So leave a little earlier, ease off the accelerator and keep your money in your pocket. (Besides, you’re definitelygoing to be late if you get pulled over, right?).
Police also issued tickets for other traffic infractions* including:
516 distracted driving offences (426 for cellphone use)
Police continue to focus on impaired driving throughout May. Remember, impaired is impaired. In Saskatchewan, it’s currently illegal and will continue to be illegal to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol, even once marijuana use becomes legal in Canada later this year.
With the recent warm weather and several calls already received by the BC SPCA about animals in hot cars, the animal welfare society is again, reminding people to leave their pets at home if they can’t keep them safe.
Cars can become death traps in 10 minutes
“People don’t realize just how quickly their cars can become death traps for their pets – it can take as little as 10 minutes for the vehicle to reach temperatures where the animal can suffer irreparable brain damage or death,” says Lorie Chortyk, general manager of community relations for the BC SPCA.
“We know that if people are taking their pets with them, it’s because they love them and want to spend time with them, but we really do encourage pet guardians to please, leave their pets at home when they’re going out in the car.”
What to do if you see a dog in distress in a parked vehicle:
Note the license plate and vehicle information and ask managers of nearby businesses to page the owner to return to their vehicle immediately;
Is the animal in distress? Call your local animal control agency, police, or the BC SPCA hotline at 1-855-622-7722 as soon as possible. Note: It is illegal for members of the public to break a window to access the vehicle themselves; only RCMP and Special Provincial Constables of the BC SPCA can lawfully enter a vehicle. SPCA branch staff and volunteers cannot enter vehicles.
Keep emergency supplies – bottled water, a small bowl, a towel that can be soaked in water- in your car so that you help hydrate an animal (if a window has been left open) while you wait for emergency response; a battery-powered fan from a dollar store also can be handy to circulate air.
In just minutes, the temperature in a parked car can climb to well over 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit). Dogs have no sweat glands, so they can only cool themselves by panting and by releasing heat through their paws, which they cannot do in a vehicle that has become an oven, she notes. Dogs can withstand high temperatures for only a very short time – in some cases just minutes – before suffering irreparable brain damage or death.
Pet guardians should be alert to heatstroke symptoms, which include: exaggerated panting (or the sudden stopping of panting), rapid or erratic pulse, salivation, anxious or staring expression, weakness and muscle tremors, lack of coordination, convulsions or vomiting, and collapse.
If your dog shows symptoms of heatstroke, you should do the following:
Immediately move the animal to a cool, shady place
Wet the dog with cool water
Fan vigorously to promote evaporation. This will cool the blood, which reduces the animal’s core temperature.
Do not apply ice. This constricts blood flow, which will inhibit cooling.
Allow the dog to drink some cool water (or to lick ice cream if no water is available)
Take the dog to a veterinarian as soon as possible for further treatment.
“Your dog will be much happier – and safer – at home, with shade and plenty of fresh cool water,” Chortyk says. “It is such a preventable tragedy.”
If people see a dog in a hot car who they think is in distress, they should call municipal animal control authorities or local law enforcement immediately.