Bike Blitz – Police Hand Out 400 Tickets

Toronto police held a 3 day long “Bike Blitz” last week, handing out 400 tickets. Officers targeted the area east of Yonge and south of Eglington, and worked 24 hour shifts for 3 days. Apparently, there has been an increase in the number of collisions between bikes and vehicles lately, and they are hoping the blitz will decrease accidents in the fall months when collisions typically increase. Of the tickets given, 27 were for riding on the sidewalk, over 100 were for not having a horn/bell, and over 200 were for pedestraisn or cyclists not stopping for a red light, stop sign, or don’t walk sign.

The bicycling community in Windsor has been asking for a “bike blitz” for some time, or at least enforcement of sidewalk cycling laws in areas with high pedestrian traffic or bike lanes.

4 thoughts on “Bike Blitz – Police Hand Out 400 Tickets”

  1. I would welcome a blitz targeting the people who flagrantly ignore traffic rules and endanger others as well as themselves. They give all cyclists a bad name.

    However the emphasis should be on endangerment and reasonableness, such as the sidewalk cycling in areas with high pedestrian traffic or bike lanes, as you mention above. I also get really irritated with people riding on the wrong side of the road or those who ignore traffic lights.

    The last thing we need is for officers to start handing out tickets left and right, for example, I strongly believe people riding on sidewalks along busy or narrow roads without bike lanes are making a rational judgment. That would just be one more thing to put people off using their bikes. We have such a small cycling population as it is and we need to do what we can to encourage others that it is safe. Having spoken to several police officers, I know they do understand the nuances, so I am hopeful that they would continue to keep this in mind if they decide to start handing out tickets.

  2. I consider myself a member of the Windsor cycling community, and I have absolutely zero desire to see a bike blitz in this town. I say this for two reasons:

    First, bike blitzes are traditionally ineffective at actually changing cyclists’ behaviour. This is because the Highway Traffic Act wasn’t written for cyclists and many of its provisions don’t make any sense in the cycling context (e.g. coming to a full stop at stop signs, being compelled to bike on the road no matter how heavy the volume of traffic). The temporary and abrupt enforcement of rules which are generally ignored because they are inconvenient has no effect on whether or not people start following those rules. The very nature of a blitz is that it does not last for long. Actions like those of the police in Toronto amount to a cash grab and despite protests to the contrary have no connection to actual policy objectives. (200 tickets for not fully stopping at reds and stop signs? Honestly? )

    Secondly if the police are actually going to apply some resources to making cycling safer in this town, I would like to see them directed at education and enforcement towards drivers. Instruct the police to start watching for cars and vans who pass cyclists unsafely, and start patrolling the streets with bike lanes and ticketing vehicles parked in them. Having never felt threatened by another cyclist in this town, I would consider this a far more valuable investment of police time and energy.

    1. I think a targeted blitz, aiming at sidewalk cyclists in areas that have bike lanes, or in areas with a lot of pedestraisns (downtown, BIAs) is a good idea. However, such a blitz would need to incorporate education/media exposure ahead of time. And, like they did in Toronto, directing enforcement at drivers would be great as well.

  3. Was it in Toronto where they gave people riding without lights at night the option of a fine or a free light? I like that approach to blitzes.

    I would love to know if there are some cool and effective alternative ways to stop teenagers riding along the wrong side of the road.

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