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5 reasons why licensing cyclists in Toronto is a bad idea

Posted by Staff / January 5, 2012

Bike License TorontoCity Hall took the first (small) steps toward licensing cyclists Wednesday as the public works committee asked staff and Toronto Police to find ways of better enforcing cycling by-laws, with an apparent focus on cracking down on riders using the sidewalk (though it's quite possible there's an ideological bent to this request). The idea of licensing cyclists isn't a new one in this town — according to a 2005 City briefing note, between 1935 and 1956 it was mandatory for all bicycles to display a license plate. Since then, the City council has rejected proposals for bike licenses on three separate occasions — in 1984, 1992 and 1996. Here's why the scheme didn't work in the past, and why it won't work now.

1. It costs too much
When city council is trying to keep expenses down, it doesn't make sense to spend money on a costly license implementation and enforcement scheme for cyclists. Yes, some bikers break the rules, but there are only a few reported cases of pedestrians and cyclists colliding each year. Contrast that with roughly 1,100 bike and motor vehicle accidents in the same period. Even if every incident was reported and resolved with a fine, the cost of enforcing the scheme will always outweigh the financial return.

2. It doesn't work
We know because we've tried it. Not only that, bike licensing isn't common in major North American cities. There's no reason to believe a licensed cyclist will refrain from cutting across the sidewalk simply because there is a plate attached to the bike for the same reason some drivers break the rules. Issuing tickets to offenders is the best way of snuffing out the occasional pedestrian-cyclist collision and boosting the number of bikers wearing helmets and using lights at night. (Ed.'s note: it is only illegal not to wear a helmet in Ontario for those under 18 years old).

3. There are too many complications
Figuring out how to handle cyclists from outside the licensing boundary, one-off Bixi riders and children biking with pedestrian parents are just a few of the obstacles any scheme will have to overcome. The inevitable disputes over individual infractions could also prove costly to resolve.

4. It discourages new riders
Why make riders jump through hoops at a time when the City should be encouraging people to climb into the saddle? The savings compared to driving or taking the TTC are a major reason people choose to don a helmet. A complex system of licensing and fees is not the way to coax down those on the fence about biking. City Council needs to spend its cash finding ways to make the streets safer for those without the benefit of metal armour.

5. It doesn't educate cyclists
I'm almost certain a straw poll of cyclists on the road today would find many are unaware of some of the basic rules of the road. Issuing correct hand signals when turning, wearing the appropriate gear and staying off the pavement are covered by by-laws in Toronto without the need for a license. Channeling the money into educational schemes has proven a more cost-effective way of reducing accidents.

Despite the negatives, a scheme designed to directly benefit cyclists and improve infrastructure could be a positive thing. When licensing schemes are implemented elsewhere, the cost is low (usually under $10 for several years) and the money is used to track stolen bikes, keep cycle lanes clear and give pedal-powered road users a voice. Perhaps if the scheme was approached from a positive angle instead of one designed to punish the occasional rogue biker it might get more support.


Writing by Chris Bateman / Photo by Derek Flack



John / January 5, 2012 at 04:48 pm
If I could be guaranteed that the cost of any licence would go directly towards funding bicycle infrastructure (bike lanes, post-rings, bixi expansion), then I would happily, happily pay.
KM / January 5, 2012 at 04:57 pm
Agreed. While I think that there are some valid reasons in favour of licensing, I think that there are too many negatives. One big thing is that it will be too onerous on those with limited or no income. Cycling may be their only practical transportation option, and now they will find themselves with one more hardship.

I am a cyclist with the means to pay for licensing, but I would much rather see resources go to strict enforcement of the rules of the road (i.e., active policing and hefty fines). Aside from thoughtless (and downright stupid) drivers, my biggest pet peeve is other cyclists that think they can do anything they want.
Peter replying to a comment from John / January 5, 2012 at 05:01 pm
You make a good point, John, and I'll add an additional caveat. If Bluto brings in a bike license, he needs to bring back the vehicle registration tax.

BTW, I'm all for a crack-down on bad behaviour by cyclists. I bike to work most days and from what I can see the majority of my fellow cyclists disobey traffic laws on a regular basis. Some out of ignorance, and some because they are simply arseholes who wilfully ignore the rules. If cyclists are to get more acceptance by drivers and policy-makers, we've got to lead by example.

Objective Reality / January 5, 2012 at 05:01 pm
The main goal of this request is not preventing cyclist/pedestrian accidents. When compared to the number of people injured or killed in motor vehicle accidents every year, the farce of treating this as a public safety concern is exposed.

Increasing the Toronto Police Services budget is the ultimate aim of this scheme. The pretext of public safety and the need to be protected from dangerous cyclists provides the needed excuse.

The Toronto Police are well aware that this is not an actual issue and further enforcement won't be necessary, outside of the typical dog and pony show referred to as a "blitz". They will, however, take more money if its offered.

The additional funds can then be diverted to other areas of an already grossly over-inflated police budget.
more rules4everyone / January 5, 2012 at 05:03 pm
i think a license is a great idea an bike is very dangerous and it would help inform bikes about laws/rules for riding a bike . Most bicyclist Ive encounter feel they are above the law and red red lights and ride on the side walks. I know over a dozen people that have been run over a a bicycle on the sidewalk
Gline / January 5, 2012 at 05:22 pm
This idea is bullshit for all of the obvious reasons, plus more that I won't go into. Great work and great article,
No riding on sidewalks / January 5, 2012 at 05:27 pm
Why not just have retailers sell licences with every new bike and remit the money to the City? That's cheap enough. Existing bikes get a break, used bikes, too. Gradually, bikes get licenced. Bixi bikes? What's so complicated? Slap a paid-for licence decal on each one. Done.
hino / January 5, 2012 at 05:33 pm
above potential infrastructure improvements, what if licensing funds were also used to educate drivers on how to drive in the city taking into account the new obstacles that they will be sharing the road with.

i think a larger part of some cyclists breaking the rules on city roads is that there arent any rules to protect them, or rather, to protect us. so we do what we must to avoid situations where we'll be on the losing end.

PS - like with cars, there are people that shouldnt be allowed to cycle on roads. namely the really slow, unsure, unaware, oblivious ones. licensing at least would keep them off the road.

adsasasdsa / January 5, 2012 at 05:36 pm
Yes, let's licence drug dealers, pedestrians, barristers, flies, hotdogs, ovnis, cluods, donuts, fords.
Jacob / January 5, 2012 at 05:55 pm
The whole plan is just a spiteful revenge scheme for the perceived "war on cars".
Antony / January 5, 2012 at 06:06 pm
Spite-based distraction. Not even worth linking to the other 5 times city staff have had to explain why it's a dumb idea that won't work.

I'd love to see high-school bicycle rules-of-the-road and safety training in Phys Ed. classes though!
Pedestrian / January 5, 2012 at 06:17 pm
I haven't seen that many bikes on sidewalks at all that would justify a licensing system for bike plates. Besides.. if it's offenders that is the reason for wanting this licensing system, The police force is taxed to the limit as it is and just doesn't have the man power to enforce the laws to begin with. You're more likely to have problems with skateboarders or Motorized scooters on the sidewalk..
steve replying to a comment from No riding on sidewalks / January 5, 2012 at 06:20 pm
You didn't give a reason why such a scheme is beneficial?
Soren / January 5, 2012 at 06:37 pm
Licensing cyclists after they've removed Jarvis, Birchmount and Pharmacy bike lanes?! It's like the City is encouraging cyclists to use the sidewalks. More bike lanes = less sidewalk.
belvedere / January 5, 2012 at 06:41 pm
after almost getting smoked for a second time as a pedestrian within two weeks by a dildo cyclist running a red light, i think we shd just arm citizens so they can blow the silly bastards off their two wheeled menaces. licensing won't work, they'll still be stupid and totally clued out abt the rights of others.
James Smith / January 5, 2012 at 06:46 pm
Great Idea! I'm sure it will be as well enforced as the St. Jack's & Queen Oliva's ANTI Idling bylaw.
(Just so you know NOT AT ALL!)
Just remember kids, they have no bike licences in Mississauga. So if you're stopped by Ol' Bill just tell em you moved from Mississauga.
Tell 'em Hazel sent ya!
Yvonne / January 5, 2012 at 06:49 pm
Great piece - thank you.
Noticed an error near the end of reason 2. You note that giving out tickets would increase the number of cyclists wearing helmets. In Ontario, not wearing a helmet is only a bylaw infraction of you are under 18 years old.
Having a license doesn't stop people from making poor decisions. We should focus on improving cycling education, in tandem with enforcement of the Highway Traffic Act rules that are already in place. Mind you, those could probably use a rethink regarding their application to bicycle transportation...
K.C. / January 5, 2012 at 06:53 pm
1) Because it costs too much, there is no need to enforce the rules? Very interesting.
2) Because it doesn't work, I can break the rules? Even more interesting.
3) There are no complications. There are a set of rules which are valid for everyone who is using a public road. I have to learn the rules when I get my driver's license. Why is a person who is ridig a bike exempt? A cyclist is using the same roads, which means he has to obey the same rules and must be punished as everyone else who is not obeying the rules.
4) Why, because not being able to break the law without consequences is not attractive anymore?
5) Might be true, but it is a start. As already mentioned in my comment for point 3, cyclists have to obey the same rules.

Nobody cares, if I drive my car without a license on my own property (e.g. in my garden), but I have to have a license, if I want to use a public road. Same should be true for EVERYONE who wants to use a PUBLIC road.
Danny P replying to a comment from belvedere / January 5, 2012 at 07:04 pm
"i think we shd just arm citizens so they can blow the silly bastards off their two wheeled menaces"

Stay off the internet, ok creep? Maybe you can use that time to better educate yourself and learn how to write above a 1st-grade level.
Danny P replying to a comment from more rules4everyone / January 5, 2012 at 07:04 pm
"I know over a dozen people that have been run over a a bicycle on the sidewalk " ....No you don't. Fake poster?
Bill K / January 5, 2012 at 07:19 pm
I'm perfectly fine with this, as long as the city takes the next logical step to make sure all pedestrians over 5 are also carrying a valid license to use public sidewalks.

I see another commenter already beat me to this. He's probably the goof I saw the other day riding the wrong way on a sidewalk without a helmet.
Parker replying to a comment from K.C. / January 5, 2012 at 07:35 pm
A bike is not a car. Although both share the road, the laws were not created with cyclists in mind, but 4,000lb metal vehicles capable of speeds of 100kmh plus and capable of serious harm. Duh.
K.C. replying to a comment from Parker / January 5, 2012 at 07:57 pm
Exactly. The laws were not created with cyclists in mind, but yet - they are still on the road. So we need laws for A but not for B? Only A has to obey the law, although B is doing the same thing? If you look at this objectively you will come to the conclusion that A and B should follow the same rules.
If not, why do we have laws at all?
Jacob replying to a comment from K.C. / January 5, 2012 at 08:48 pm

Do you seriously not know that there are already traffic bylaws on the books that address all of the biking infractions some people are endlessly wringing their hands about, these days? Cyclists who run red lights, ignore stop signs, bike on the sidewalks and generally endanger other people by riding recklessly are already subject to fines and charges. All the cops have to do is choose to enforce those rules, no silly bike licensing scheme required.

Toby Buckets / January 5, 2012 at 08:49 pm
Perhaps we should licence pedestrians as well, in an effort to curb jaywalking.
iSkyscraper / January 5, 2012 at 08:53 pm
6) Because no other big city in North America has managed to run a successful cyclist licensing program. Ever. Rob Ford's team is many things -- smarter than every other city on the continent is not one of them.
Janet / January 5, 2012 at 09:08 pm
If cyclists

stayed the he11 off the sidewalks
stopped at red traffic lights
stopped at stop signs
signaled their lane changes/turns
rode with lights at night
rode with helmets

they would deserve more bike lanes
Sergio replying to a comment from K.C. / January 5, 2012 at 09:17 pm
Cyclists should obey the laws, but the consequences of not enforcing laws on cyclists are not equal to the consequences of not enforcing laws on motor vehicles. The potential danger to others that can result from a cyclist running a red light, for example, is nowhere near the damage a car running a red light can cause. This is not to say that cyclists should be given more leniency, but rather that offenses should be dealt with in proportion to the net negative that can arise as a result.
Mg / January 5, 2012 at 09:20 pm
It seems more than a little unclear what all this means. If a cyclist's licence is meant to serve the same purpose as a driver's licence, doesn't this mean that there have to be tests to make sure that person licensed knows about the rules of the road and how to ride a bike? Without any testing, it's not much different than a dog license, and in fact is just a user fee.
Clay replying to a comment from Janet / January 5, 2012 at 09:23 pm
What? So by your logic, since SOME drivers don't always signal when turning or changing lanes, roll through stop signs in quieter neighbourhoods, speed, drive without lights on at night, cut people off, run yellows, 'U' turns blah blah, the city should start removing roadways for each infraction since they are clearly not deserving of them. Ridiculous. There's laws on the books to ticket both cyclists and drivers, this is all just distraction.
Mark replying to a comment from Pedestrian / January 5, 2012 at 09:43 pm
The fines collected should cover the cost of enforcement. If cyclists are such scofflaws, enforcement of existing laws could be a major revenue generator for municipalities. No need for licensing here. That said, enforcement resources should directed towards those with the potential to do the most harm--speeding, distracted and drunk motorists. That's not a free ride for bad cyclists, just a rational allocation of resources.
Warren replying to a comment from K.C. / January 5, 2012 at 09:43 pm
Yes, bicycle drivers are a reality. The Highway Traffic Act covers their behaviour on roads, but it does require interpretation.
If you want to make it illegal for a car (vehicle) to pass a bike (vehicle) on the left in the same lane, I'm good with that. Until than, the coexistence of two vehicles is required, and acknowledgement of their vastly different physical properties is at least partly acknowledged in law. What's missing is a lot of detail, much education, and a whole lot of enforcement.
In the meantime, arrest the guy who leapt out his car and physically threatened me after playing 'chicken' - my crime? I took a photo of his license plate.
Mark replying to a comment from Peter / January 5, 2012 at 09:51 pm
So resources should only be allocated to cyclists when cyclists as a class behave properly? By that logic, we should be rolling up a lot of roadways based on the behaviour of drivers. Enforcing existing laws on all road users would suffice.
K.C. replying to a comment from Sergio / January 5, 2012 at 10:09 pm
Hmm, using your logic would also imply that fines for truck drivers running a red light should be higher than running a red light by car. Is this the case? If yes, then I agree with you.
K.C. replying to a comment from Warren / January 5, 2012 at 10:33 pm
Nobody cares and leaves room for interpretation, if I break the law or do something stupid with my car.
I understand that in a perfect world, both sides would cope with each other. We do not live in a perfect world. Have you ever seen how the traffic works in Asian or Arabic cities? It looks like chaos to us, but it actually works, because a cyclist understands that he will lose, if he's not being careful. In North American or European cities cyclists do what they want, break the law and will most likely win any dispute in court, because they are the 'weaker' party. I'm getting sick of this double standard. You want to use the road, then behave like everyone else. Otherwise don't blame others, if you don't survive an encounter with a car. Do you also need a sticker on your RV that tells you that you shouldn't stand up while driving? I'm sure you don't, so why is it so complicated to understand that the same rules should apply to everyone?
Antony / January 5, 2012 at 10:53 pm
Hey K.C., do you hold doors open for old ladies? Step aside for small children? Why? They're the weaker party, they should understand that it's not your responsibility to act with due care.
Douglas replying to a comment from Janet / January 5, 2012 at 10:57 pm
"If cyclists stayed the he11 off the sidewalks stopped at red traffic lights stopped at stop signs signaled their lane changes/turns rode with lights at night rode with helmets they would deserve more bike lanes" I think you have it backwards. Cyclists ride on sidewalks because they don't feel safe on the roads. Build the bike lanes FIRST, and then the cyclists have less motivation to ride on sidewalk and sidewalk riding decreases.
Gabe / January 5, 2012 at 11:03 pm
There's not enough money in it. What are you going to get 15,000 cyclists to donate an average of $50 each? OK so your raising $750000 you can barely post a job ad and hire a decent person to run it for that. Won't work you need more cash. Even if you think you're gonna go grass roots, and do it for charity and charge as little as possible you still need more than than that. WON'T WORK!!!!! GIVE IT UP!!!
Warren replying to a comment from K.C. / January 5, 2012 at 11:03 pm
Boo hoo. The vehicle with the massive advantage is 'sick of the double standard' of ... accountability. The problem with traffic is not bicycles, it's car drivers. Who get enraged when THEY are held accountable for their poor behaviour.
Underneath your rant is also sexism and classism, and the butt-hurt whining of the majority a la 'Ford nation'.
So busy making people wrong (oh, there are some) that you overlook basic precepts. Like when you drive a car, you learn and agree to the rules. It's called a license. Bicycles have no such agreement. You're lucky you get such good behaviour from the majority. I can just imagine the roads if a bunch of youse guys were let lose with no license, training, signals, or enforcement. You'd find something to be butt-hurt about, no doubt.
john / January 5, 2012 at 11:52 pm
most cyclist have driver's licences, some even have cars. they are all fully aware of the rules.

they don't go through stop signs because they don't know what they mean. they do it because it's safe to do so.

don't be jealous drivers, get on a bike, you can do it too.

note: sidewalk riding i disagree with.
Chris / January 6, 2012 at 12:11 am
I see a few commenters suggesting that bike license fees be used to offset the cost of cycling improvements and education campaigns. That is not the purpose of license fees.

Traditionally license fees are levied to offset the cost of issuing and maintaining the license, not to support infrastructure and education programmes not directly associated with the license. If a license fee is set high enough to apply some of the collected monies to such things as improved bike lanes or driver education programmes, the excess money is, in fact, a tax.

Much more better we focus our efforts on replacing the man who calls himself Mayor F**king Ford.
K.C. replying to a comment from Antony / January 6, 2012 at 01:02 am
Yes, I do, and I also watch out for cyclists. I'm not saying that car drivers should not care about cyclists. I'm only saying that they should be as responsible as they would be when driving a car. The sad fact is that they are not. As soon as the very same people who also drive a car are hopping on a bike, they become a menace to others as themselves because they can and will get away with it.
K.C. replying to a comment from john / January 6, 2012 at 01:06 am
But I have to stop and wait at a red light at 3 am for minutes, although nobody is around and it would be safe to drive (after stopping) as well. But this is against the law. Don't you find it unfair and not right that there are different rules for people on the same road?
K.C. replying to a comment from Warren / January 6, 2012 at 01:23 am
You obviously have no idea what I'm talking about. Just as an info: I did not vote for Ford, nor am I a fan of his ideas or political decisions. I'm ok with being held accountable for anything I do wrong when driving my car. The point is that a lot of cyclist deliberatly ignore rules and shift the responsibility on to someone else. You correctly said that 'I learned and agreed to the rules'. Don't you think that cyclist should do that too? And you get it wrong. Cyclists are lucky to have me as a driver next to them. I'm sure that other drivers would not have been able to avoid an accident because of some cyclists' careless behavior. I'm not saying that cyclist are all bad or that drivers should not look out for them. Please don't get me wrong, I only want them to follow the same rules as everyone else. Nothing more and nothing less.
Rob Ford / January 6, 2012 at 02:04 am
I'm with K.C. on this one. the car drivers of this city are terrible and should have to have their licences renewed once every 6 months, and be able to pass a simple 'don't funking hit the cyclist' test or else they lose their licence for a year.

also, if bikes were made of bacon, maybe i'd be an even bigger fat turd!
Jeanette / January 6, 2012 at 05:36 am
It looks that someone here lost in court or lost some money with a byciclist before... Is that or KC don't have common sense
Mike replying to a comment from Douglas / January 6, 2012 at 07:59 am
If cyclists don't feel safe on the road and choose to ride on sidewalks, then here's an idea: Don't ride your bike. If a car driver doesn't feel safe on the road, should he ride on the sidewalk, too? It sucks for these cyclists that they don't feel safe to ride on roads, but that doesn't give them the right to infringe on pedestrian safety.
john replying to a comment from K.C. / January 6, 2012 at 08:05 am
No, of course not. a car weighs a ton, can reach high speeds and can kill you.

a bicycle and rider weigh marginally more than the rider themselves, can stop on a dime and generally, save a freak accident, don't kill or hurt anyone.

there should be different rules for different road users. for example, in denmark, one way streets with posted speed limits of 50km/h or less are by default two way for cyclists.
Mark / January 6, 2012 at 08:39 am
The usual complaint is that cyclists don't obey the rules of the road. Perhaps we should... to the absolute letter of the law. Maybe cyclists need to stop 'lane splitting' (as a convenience to motorists) and just ride down the centre of the road lane at whatever speed is convenient to us? All perfectly legal, and - totally disruptive. To initiate this process, I propose we form ad hoc pelletons of slow moving cyclists to show everybody what law-abiding cycling feels like.
W. K. Lis / January 6, 2012 at 09:03 am
How do countries like Denmark handle cyclists? Do they have to be licensed? Or are they taught in school the rules of the road? Maybe we should require students in school to pass a test in the early grades, have them know all the rules of the road first and have to pass them for everyone.
Antony / January 6, 2012 at 09:22 am
Denmark / Holland have bicycle education in schools. It would be great if we had the same thing here.
Dan / January 6, 2012 at 10:26 am
Why don't we put it in the context of Rob Ford's war on bikes?

Q: Why would Rob Ford want to licence bikes and/or riders?
A: Quote your article: "4. It discourages new riders"
Dave / January 6, 2012 at 11:12 am
Cyclist should have a license and pay insurance, if you want to be treated like a vehicle using the roads or bike lanes then pay into the system. How is it fair that if you accidentally turn into my car and scratch my paint and flee the scene on your bike, myself or any witnesses have no way of writing down your plate to contact my insurance and authorities. Also I think that the police should sit on Jarvis and hand out tickets like it's candy just like they do at the bottom of Yonge and Harbor for illegal turning vehicles. I drive up Jarvis everyday from work to my house in Davisville and I am so sick and tired of seeing cyclists breaking the law. 8/10 cyclists will stop or slow down at a red light, look both ways then run the red. If I did that with my car I would get a red light ticket or a cop would pull me over. If they have a license then they too could get a nice envelope in the mail for a $300 red light ticket, not that I run red lights but I have heard that is the cost of those tickets.
marc / January 6, 2012 at 12:28 pm
You forgot to mention that everyone will laugh at Toronto. Licensing cyclists has got to be one of the stupidest things I've heard of.
tommy / January 6, 2012 at 01:13 pm
From the sounds of it, car drivers sure see a lot of bicycles run red lights. I wonder why we don't hear of any accidents caused by it? Either it's not happening at all, or it's done in a manner that is demonstratively safe. Using a vehicle without blind-spots and far superior auditory queues is definitely a different experience. This is yet another reasons why bikes need to be treated differently than cars. Following the letter of the law for no other reason than to follow the law seems silly.
tommy / January 6, 2012 at 01:19 pm
But here's a compromise - different fines for 'licensed' cyclists vs. 'non-licensed' cyclists. Set up a simple website with the rules of the road for cyclists clearly laid out. On the website, add a simple Q/A test that will register a pass/fail for an entered name, and will output a registration number. If the cyclist gets caught doing something wrong by a cop, they pay a lesser fine if they are able to provide their name/registration number. This is a simple way to get people to review the rules of the road (which is what we're ultimately aiming for here, right?).
Alex / January 6, 2012 at 01:26 pm
The number of people in the city struck by cars is so astronomically higher than the number struck by bicycles that I don't even understand the point of this debate. Also, a bicyclist disobeying the rules is risking their own life and they know it. If they don't care that their actions could kill them, why would they care about getting a ticket? Bicycle licenses will never be a deterrent because bicyclists already have the largest deterrent possible for bad behaviour. There is no point to this debate, it was just brought up in council because Ford was slipping in the polls and he knew just mentioning something like this would make him more popular. We should be more worried about what he is about to propose that he thinks is unpopular enough that he needs this to bolster his reputation first.
fathead / January 6, 2012 at 01:42 pm
Why license them.....just give cars open season to run down any cyclist going the wrong way on a one way street or when they run a stop sign. That should sort the law abiding cyclists from the other morons!
Arno S / January 6, 2012 at 01:54 pm
Re suggestion that cyclists should pay for cycle specific infrastructure, cyclists already pay through property taxes. In fact, they overpay for the roads they use. It is drivers who underpay. Subsidy for drivers is over $6000 per vehicle per year.

Re suggestion that some cyclists break traffic rules, it may be because the rules are made for cars and additional rules for cycling are mostly cycling negative. For example, it is high time that the "Idaho Stop Law" be more widely implemented. This law states that cyclists may treat stop signs as yield signs and red lights as stop signs. This law has been recently reviewed and has shown that safety for all road users has improved as a result of the law.

Also, it has not been emphasized enough that drivers and cars are licensed because cars can inflict a huge amount of damage. How much damage can a bicycle cause?
b replying to a comment from Jacob / January 6, 2012 at 01:58 pm
as a motorist why would I want to share the road with another vehicle who does not pay the same taxes that I do, nor, at the very least, respect the laws of raod , like I have to.
If bikers want respect on the roads, they have to pay for it. Until then bikers are using roads and bike lanes for which I, asa motorist, have paid for and allow them to use.
Ryan / January 6, 2012 at 02:22 pm
You already share the road with other vehicles whose drivers don't pay the same taxes you do. People drive from other municipalities, where they pay different property taxes that don't contribute to Toronto roads. Tourists and travellers come from other provinces, even other countries, and their taxes (aside from expenses incurred while they're here) don't contribute to Toronto roads, either.

But never mind that: Where does this idea that the taxes you pay entitle you to more or better services & infrastructure come from? That's not how our society works.
Mike replying to a comment from tommy / January 6, 2012 at 02:24 pm
It seems to me that you want your cake and eat it, too. A bicycle is a vehicle and it should it adhere to all vehicular laws. Do you want motorcycles or cars to start breaking laws because it's "demonstratively safe?" Why not? You advocate that cyclists should be afforded to make this judgment at their discretion, so why not all motorists? "Following the letter of the law for no other reason than to follow the law seems silly?" Your logic seems considerably more foolish.
Arno S replying to a comment from b / January 6, 2012 at 02:26 pm
Please see my comment which precedes yours. Cyclists overpay for the roads they use while drivers underpay. See Furthermore, cyclists contribute to society by reduced health care costs (due to exercise), reduced pollution and reduced ghg emissions. Also, cyclists make more productive employees. I encourage everyone to make some of their trips by bike - it is the most enjoyable form of transportation.
Az / January 6, 2012 at 04:03 pm
Bring back officer Norm and Blinky!!! Bike safety and road rules should be embedded into the education system just like it used to be.
Mandy replying to a comment from more rules4everyone / January 6, 2012 at 04:50 pm
"I know over a dozen people that have been run over a a bicycle on the sidewalk" Liar
Mandy replying to a comment from b / January 6, 2012 at 04:51 pm
you'd better be paying for walking too or learn to hover.
K.C. replying to a comment from Jeanette / January 6, 2012 at 05:09 pm
I never had a money related problem with a cyclist, nor did I lose in court. I'm just annoyed by their behavior.
Since when is being logical equal to not having common sense? Not my fault, if 1+1=3 for you.
K.C. replying to a comment from john / January 6, 2012 at 05:16 pm
so much for noone gets killed by a cyclist - btw this was not the only incident:
Antony / January 6, 2012 at 05:46 pm
K.C., nobody said that "noone gets killed by being hit by cyclists". It's that your chances of being killed by being hit by someone riding a bike are less than getting killed by lightning (which claims 9 people/year in Canada). You better believe it's in the news, though.
Aran replying to a comment from John / January 7, 2012 at 09:23 am
It's already against the law for most bikes to be on the sidewalk, why isnt it enforced more? Are we going to license rollerbladers and skateboarders too?

A City bylaw allows cyclists with a tire size of 61cm or 24 inches or less to ride on the sidewalk. The intent of this bylaw is to allow young children to cycle on the sidewalk while they learn to ride. The bylaw is based on wheel size because it is difficult for Police to enforce age-based bylaws, as most children do not carry identification. This is a municipal bylaw and rules vary in communities across Ontario.

The Toronto bylaw states that riding a bicycle with tire size over 61cm (24 inches) on sidewalks is prohibited, as is riding/operating a bicycle (or roller skates, in-line skates, skateboard, coaster, toy vehicle) on a sidewalk without due care and attention and reasonable consideration for others. The fine in downtown Toronto for not following this bylaw is $90 and aggressive cyclists can also be charged with careless driving.
Jacob replying to a comment from b / January 7, 2012 at 10:39 am

Actually, everyone contributes to road upkeep via their property taxes, whether they actually use those roads or not. Since I don't drive, but still have to pay for the roads you use, seems like you're getting a free ride at my expense. You're welcome.
Gary / January 9, 2012 at 10:20 am
If drivers stopped at red traffic lights stopped at stop signs signaled their lane changes/turns rode with lights at night rode with helmets they would deserve more car lanes
Bongo / January 9, 2012 at 04:14 pm
I think educating cyclists should be the top priority. After that, everything else automatically improves. Wouldn't it be nice if some day more cyclists would actually shoulder-check? Wouldn't it be nice if more cyclists wouldn't wear large hoods? Wouldn't it be nice if more cyclists wouldn't skip ahead, crowd a corner and block a car from making a right-turn at a red? Wouldn't it be nice if more cyclists wouldn't swerve around a car in the midst of parallel parking, screwing up the drivers' motions and making them nervous? Wouldn't it be nice if more cyclists would look & wait for a gap before swerving into live traffic?
Bongo replying to a comment from Dave / January 9, 2012 at 04:24 pm
"How is it fair that if you accidentally turn into my car and scratch my paint and flee the scene on your bike, myself or any witnesses have no way of writing down your plate to contact my insurance and authorities."

You can say the same about people walking past your parked car too. What if a drunk falls on your hood and scratches your paint with his zipper? What about the stupendously large pothole, created by other heavy vehicles, that damages your under carriage? This kind of talk can go on forever. Really, what has to happen is you, the owner of a big hulking technological machine which slaves for you, has to swallow your feelings and view miscellaneous damage as a cost of ownership. Cyclists are fine miscellaneous damage to their vehicles, as exemplified by their hands-on repair and cleaning of the machines, and being okay with scratches more or less.
Mark replying to a comment from Jacob / January 9, 2012 at 11:18 pm
Ok Jacob, I hope you aren't buying anything in any store then. Since all goods are trucked into the city using the roads, you are obviously getting use of the roads even if you yourself don't drive.
jay / January 10, 2012 at 11:45 am
Cyclists disrespect pedestrians and need licensing. They need to follow not just the law, but
co-exist with cars too. I'm all for being accountable for your actions!
iSkyscraper replying to a comment from jay / January 10, 2012 at 02:00 pm
Jay, you are proposing something not done successfully in any. other. major. city. on. the. continent. The world does not exist in your head, it exists in reality. To propose something no one else has been able to make work is a recipe for disaster. Can you see the wisdom in that, no matter what the issue? The Ford Administration is not capable of pulling this off (i.e. I think we can all agree they are not smarter than every other city gov't in North America) and should focus instead on adding more bike infrastructure to safely attract and separate bikes from people and cars on high traffic routes. (What's that, they prefer to remove bike lanes instead? And talk about but not build separated lanes? Ooops...)
John replying to a comment from Sergio / January 10, 2012 at 03:59 pm
Replace bicycle with motorcycle or moped/Vespa and the same argument can be made no? Exposed operator at danger due to 5000 lbs of moving metal. Should licenses not be required for these as well? Or is it the "it's human powered transport" argument that we are making here.

Maybe licensing isn't the answer but certainly enforcement of laws should be done. I think the issue becomes tracking a logging the offenses/tickets. Without a license (either drivers license or licensed vehicle) how do we track who made the offense? Do all bicyclists carry government ID with when riding? Will the willing surrender their ID to a convicting officer?
the lemur replying to a comment from John / January 10, 2012 at 04:20 pm
The Highway Traffic Act already requires cyclists to present either a driver's licence or other valid ID when stopped by police. Again, enforcement is a better idea, since licensing will be expensive to implement and maintain, and that's if the political will really exists to introduce it.
iLovetoHate / January 12, 2012 at 09:26 am
Tax those damn infants! Breaking all the rules on my streets! Got no damn sense! They ride so slow like they got no place to go! All they do is occupy space! I'mma run them over when i see 'em. Send 'em to the 'firmary. That oughtta keep 'em off the road for a while.
C. Van Ihinger / January 17, 2012 at 04:12 pm
All of the laws that are broken by cyclists (or anyone else for that matter) are already supported by those very laws that are being broken. Adding a licence tax will not improve ths support of those laws.

If the person who calls himself Mayor F**king Ford is truly concerned about enforcing the existing laws, he should simply provide adequate funding to allow Toronto's Finest to apply a convincing level of enforcement of those laws.

And how much enfocement is "convincing"? Not much. Not much at all. It just needs to be seen being applied.
iBike replying to a comment from Bill K / September 11, 2012 at 09:43 am
Which way is riding the wrong way on the sidewalk? Oh, all ways. Right.

Obviously, I'm anti this scheme. Also, I live in...whatever suburb I'm closest to the next time I get caught cycling without my license.

iBike replying to a comment from Bill K / September 11, 2012 at 09:45 am
And while we're talking about bikes on the sidewalk - I agree with Aran - the rule about bike tire size for sidewalk riding is meant for little kids.

So, yeah, it's technical legal to be a sidewalk riding douchebag on a folding bike with tiny tires, but you're still a douchebag.
Rob / September 11, 2012 at 09:50 am
I completely disagree with your logic here.

1. "It costs too much". Then you go on and use reasoning that is the same that is used to enforce all motorists, so why won't it work with cyclists? You also are insinuating that all car/cyclists collisions are at the fault of the motorist...which is biased and untrue, even if the current (and outdated) highway traffic act assumes so.

2. "It doesn't work". So it's alright for cyclists to just ignore the rules? This is exactly the same as saying that enforcing stop signs and red lights for motorists won't work "because they'll just do it anyway". The whole point of laws/tickets/enforcement is that if it is done enough then the offenders will learn there lesson or pay for it financially.
Saying that there is not enough police to enforce it is the same as saying there aren't enough to enforce every car. The goal is to enforce the main routes where occurrences are more likely to happen which will then shape the way people ride/drive.

3. "too many complications" The bixi bike argument is the same as referring to rental cars being to hard to enforce.

4. "It discourages new riders" Again a flawed argument. Owning, insuring and the upkeep of a car are far more expensive than a possible bike license and it does not discourage new drivers. Yes there may be some people that look at alternative options but until this city has a transit system that is actually accessible and convenient (ala. NYC), then it is not a true viable option over the car.

5. "It doesn't educate cyclists". When deciding to operate any vehicle, whether peddle powered or otherwise, the owner/rider is responsible for understanding the rules of the road. Why would someone just get on a bike and mix in with motorized vehicles made of thousands of pounds of metal without knowing how to properly operate their own vehicle?

For once I would like to see an unbiased article written about cyclists in this city. The truth of the matter is that there are many cyclists in this city that have a sense of entitlement and a blatant disregard for most traffic laws (ie. stop signs)

I was born and raised downtown and still live here so this isn't some "905er" mentality that all the elitist hipsters always cry about.
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