The following reports are from workshops (in March of 1991), sponsoredby the Toronto City Cycling Committee on ways to improve cycling behaviorand enforcement (for all cyclists). No couriers were involved but all theexperts on couriers seem to agree that couriers need to belicensed because "a licensing program will be justified if it improvesthe public perception toward cyclists."

The Lawful and the Awful

Bicycle Safety Enforcement Workshop Summaries

Thursday, March 7, 1991

Sponsored by The Toronto City Cycling Committee

Workshop I

Will changes to legislation increase compliancewith the law?


Michael Sherman, Metro Police Daniel Egan, Bicycle Planner


Chris Aquanno, Metro Police, Heather Clarke, Ministry of Transportation,Bill Coffman, Canadian Standards Association, Peter Litherland, Metro Police,Robert Murray, Metro Police Hugh Smith, Metro Police, John Phillips, Cityof Toronto Legal Department, Stuart Spanglett, Ontario Cycling Association

Defining the Problem

There was a consensus among the group that there was a significant problemwith cyclist. non- compliance with traffic laws. The group identified thefollowing factors as contributing to the problem.

Not Enough Enforcement

Cyclists are far less likely to be stopped for an infraction than aremotorists, hence compliance with traffic rules is perceived to be lessimportant for cyclists. It should be noted that most adult cyclists arealso motorists and their behaviour on a bike may be quite different thanin a car. It was suggested that we should attempt to measure the effectof increased enforcement on cyclists perceptions and knowledge of trafficlaws.

Lack of Awareness of Laws for Cyclists

Although there was a consensus that most adults were aware that trafficrules applied to cyclists in general, there still exists considerable confusionover what laws specifically affected cyclists. This uncertainty on thespecifics of the law stems from lack of education and, in some instances,unclear wording of traffic laws. It was noted that even police officersare not sure of the traffic requirements for cyclists. For example, manyofficers advise cyclists that points will be applied to their driver'slicenses for infractions committed on bicycles, although the HTA does notpermit this. Cyclists have also complained of being ticketed for makingleft turns from the centre of the road. Although the HTA clearly allowsthis, municipal by-laws are less clear.


As in the taxi and motor-vehicle courier industry, bike couriers arepaid per delivery, hence there is a very strong incentive to disregardthe law to make faster time.

Survival - the Roads Aren't Safe

There is a perception among many that it may be safer in some casesto disobey the law. For example, riding on the sidewalk on a busy arterialmay feel much safer, and in fact may be safer than riding on the street.When forced to choose between putting themselves at risk or disobeyingthe law many cyclists will put their safety first and disobey the lam.There was a consensus among the group that the City must. increase thesafety of streets for cyclists if cyclists are expected to consistentlyobey the law. It was noted that European experience suggests that cyclistscompliance with the law is highest where cycling facilities have been provided.

Information Not Available

Cyclists who are interested in finding out what the laws are complainthat it is difficult to get the information. The Ministry of Transportationmakes their cycling booklet available through their vehicle licensing offices,the Cycling Committee disseminates information through specialty bike retailersand the Police present material in elementary schools. However, this appearsto be reaching only a fraction of the people who need it.

Parents Don't and Can't Teach Bike Safety

Most children don't receive adequate instruction on cycling. One reasonfor this is that parents don't know what to teach their kids. In cultureswhere cycling has a long tradition, skills and knowledge are passed downfrom parents to their children.

Some Traffic Regulations Are Not Reasonable for Cyclists

Many traffic regulations were established specifically for motor vehicles,but also apply to bicycles, simply because bicycles are considered vehicles.An example of this is the proliferation of entry, right-turn, and left-turnprohibitions intended to keep automobiles from cutting through residentialneighbourhoods. Including cyclists in these regulations, when bicyclesare clearly not part of the problem, breeds disrespect for the law by cyclistsbecause the laws seem unfair. In the instances described above it may besafer to break the law to ride on the residential streets rather than stayon arterial,

Risk Taking Behaviour

There will always be a percentage of the population, albeit a smallone, that will consciously accept a higher level of risk in their actions,licensing or education is not likely to affect these individuals.

Types of Legislative Change

The group discussed the potential for licensing cyclists and bike couriersand registering bicycles to increase compliance with the law. Discussionfocused on to what extent these three approaches would effectively dealwith the factors (out--lined above) which influence non-compliance. Althoughamendments to traffic regulations for cyclists, HTA and municipal by-laws,was considered outside of the scope of the discussion they clearly aroseas an issue. There was a consensus that the existing traffic regulationsmust be reviewed and amended where appropriate to ensure that they arerealistic and fair for cyclists.

Registering Bicycles

Registering bicycles provides no advantage in enforcing the law becausecyclists are now required to identify themselves when stopped by the police.Even in hit-and-run cases a license on the bike may not provide much benefitbecause it only identifies the vehicle not the operator. Tickets are issuedto the operator not the vehicle.

Bicycle registration programs are generally implemented to assist inrecovering stolen bicycles not to assist enforcement.

To be successful, a bicycle registration program would have to be implementedat least province- wide and strictly enforced. The costs of implementingsuch a pro-gram far outweigh the minimal support they may offer in enforcingthe law. Directing police resources at enforcing mandatory bicycle registrationwould detract from police resources needed to enforce the existing trafficregulations.

Licensing Cyclists

The following three reasons for licensing cyclists were evaluated:

To assure a minimum level of competence

This could be done through testing (written and/or practical) comparableco that administered for drivers licenses, However, unlike drivers, cyclistsinclude both children and adults. It would be very difficult to have atest appropriate for all age groups. The cost of administering such a programwould be very high. To be effective it would have to be implemented province-wide.It would be far more cost-effective to direct resources toward educationand enforcement to ensure higher skill levels and greater awareness oftraffic rules.

To assist identification

Police officers are satisfied that the HTA requirement. for cycliststo identify them-selves is sufficient for enforcement purposes. Most cyclistsidentify themselves to police officers. There is little advantage in implementinga costly licensing pro-gram to assist in identifying the very small percentageof cyclists who improperly identify themselves.


The ability to withdraw a cyclists' license may increase the incentiveto comply with the law. However, given that cyclists non-compliance isa relatively minor problem relative to other police enforcement issues,a costly licensing program for cyclists cannot be justified on this grounds.The existing fines for cyclists are the same as those for motorists.

In summary, licensing is not considered a cost-effective means for increasingcyclists compliance with the law. Rather than creating new regulationsfor cyclists, attention should be focused on enforcing the existing laws.With the recent changes to the HTA requiring cyclists to identify themselvespolice now have the tools to effectively enforce the law.

Licensing Bicycle Couriers

The same three reasons for licensing cyclists were evaluated for licensingbicycle couriers; to assure a minimum level of competence, to assist inidentification, and to enable punitive action.

There was general consensus within the group that some form of businesslicense should be required for bicycle couriers because they are professionalcyclists and should be regulated similar to other professional drivers.

Because they are small in number relative to the general cycling population,the administrative cost of licensing bike couriers should not be great.However, despite their small numbers, courier behaviour has a tremendousinfluence on the public perception of all cyclists. Therefore the costsof administering a licensing program will be justified if it improves thepublic perception toward cyclists.

It is generally agreed that there are two distinct groups within thebike courier population - the experienced veterans and the inexperiencedriders. The inexperienced riders generally don't last long and create proportionalitymore conflicts with pedestrians and motorists. A licensing program thatcould ensure a minimum level of competence for couriers entering the industrywould reduce accidents and conflicts.

Although courier licensing is considered a positive step there is considerableuncertainty about how such a program would work or how effective it couldbe. The courier industry should be involved in determining how to implementsuch a program, There was even a suggestion that it would be desirablefor bicycle couriers to regulate themselves.

As a final caution, there was general agreement that bike couriers aregood for the City from an environmental point of view. Deliveries by bikecourier should be encouraged, but in a more responsible and safe manner.


1. Licensing cyclists and registering bicycles are not cost-effectivemeans for increasing cyclists compliance with the law.

2. Some type of business license for bicycle couriers should be pursued,probably through the Metro Licensing Commission.

3. Education and enforcement programs for cyclists should be enhancedbecause these are the most effective means for increasing cyclist compliancewith the law. These programs should reinforce that bicycles are vehiclesand focus on cyclists rights and duties under the HTA.

4. Existing municipal by-laws and Highway Traffic Act regulations mustbe re-viewed and amended where appropriate to ensure that they are realisticand fair for cyclists.

Workshop summary prepared by Daniel Egan

Workshop II

How can education and public awareness increasecompliance with the law?


Susan McCoy, Metro Police, Barb Wentworth, Bicycle Coordinator


Norman Vanderburgh, Metro Police, John Andrews, Metro Police, Reg Eldridge,Metro Police Phil Harris, Metro Police, Jerry Lazare, Jarvis C.I., MarshaMichael, Toronto City Cycling Committee, Paul Rappell, Metro Separate SchoolBoard, Ken Croxford, North York Board of Education

General Comments

Participants supported the importance of education and public awarenessin increasing compliance with the law. Effective programs would addressconfusion over how laws apply to bicycles and influence behaviour of cyclistswho disregard the law. The workshop discussed the problems in implementingsuccessful cycling education programs and made both short-term and long-termrecommendations for program delivery.

The following barriers to successful education programs were identified:

- Public perception of bicycle as a toy, not a vehicle

- Cyclists' attitude that cycling education is not needed

- Ignorance of the existence of cycling programs

- Lack of variety of courses from which to choose

- Lack of funds for programs

- Lack of instructors to teach courses

- Lack of training facilities

- Short season for on-bike education

- Lack of competent, well-educated cycling role models

Overcoming these barriers will acquire different strategies for differentgroups in the community. Participants grouped these strategies in threebroad areas,

The logical place to start is with people who must take cycling coursesas a requirement or pre- requisite for their job or schooling. These couldinclude couriers, police bike patrol officers, teachers providing on-bikeeducation and students needing bike education prior to driver training.Traffic law offenders on bikes also could be required to take cycling education.

The second group of people to reach out to are those who can be influencedby some type of incentive. For example, employers could be encouraged toschedule commuter cycling courses during working hours as part of workplacetraining programs.

Finally, participants concluded that a public awareness campaign wouldbe necessary for people who have no desire to take cycling courses andfor the non cycling public.

The workshop made recommendations under four categories. Three dealwith cycling education - for adults, for children and teens, and withinthe police force. The fourth category is public awareness campaigns forthe general public.


Cycling education for adults

1. That the Toronto City Cycling Committee work with employers to providecommuter cycling education programs in Toronto workplaces.

2. That the Toronto City Cycling Committee work with interested communitygroups to develop a pool of instructors to teach the CanBike program.

3. That the Toronto City Cycling Committee work with the Metro PoliceForce work to develop an in-house pool of police instructors so that CanBikecourses can be available to any Metro Police Force employee.

4. That the Toronto City Cycling Committee and the Metro Police Forcepetition the Ministry of Transportation for more bicycle education contentin driver training and testing.

5. That the Metro Police Force and The Toronto City Cycling Committeeinvestigate some form of bicycle education for traffic law offenders onbikes. This would require the assistance of the courts.

6. That the education of couriers be pursued through licensing of couriers.

Cycling education for children and teens

7. That school boards be encouraged to identify volunteers to assistcommunity program officers in meeting the increasing demand for policebicycle radios and classroom presentations.

8. That school boards be encouraged to develop bicycle education facilitiesfor children.

9. That school boards be encouraged to provide helmet loan pools forbike rodeos.

10. That school boards be encouraged to provide bicycle education coursesas a pre-requisite to driver education at the high school level.

11. That cycling clubs in schools or connected with bike shops be encouragedto provide bicycle education.

12. That school boards be encouraged to establish teen tutor programsin which older students become role models for younger children.

Cycling education within the police force

13. That the Toronto City Cycling Committee provide CanBike II coursesfor police officers on bikes.

14. That the Metro Police Force in conjunction with the Toronto CityCycling Committee set up in-house training programs for all officers withinthe force on cycling issues.

15. That training sergeants at the police college receive instructionin bicycle issues.

16. That C.O. Bick offer bicycle education as part of police constabletraining.

Public awareness campaigns for the general public

17. That the Metro Police Force and the Toronto City Cycling Committeework to enhance the perception of the bicycle as a legitimate vehicle throughPSAs, press releases and press conferences.

18. That the Metro Police Force publicize its own cycling educationprogram for police on bikes.

19. That the Metro Police Force set up formal bike patrols and increasethe number of officers using bicycles.

20. That the Toronto City Cycling Committee and the Metro Police Forceinvestigate funding for a transit shelter poster for July and August inorder to publicize police bike patrols and promote the message that thebicycle is a vehicle.

21. That the Metro Police Force and the Toronto City Cycling Committeepursue the use of statistics (accident and injury) in promoting publicawareness of the necessity for educational programs.

22. That the Toronto City Cycling Committee establish an inventory ofcycling resources that can be distributed within the Metro Police Force.

Workshop summary prepared by Barb Wentworth

Workshop III

Why are bicycle infractions so hard to enforceand what can be done about it?


Brian O'Connor, Metro Police, Sarah Hood, Vice Chair Toronto City CyclingCommittee


Roy Canning, Metro Police, Michael Lindale, Metro Police Ed Edey, MetroPolice, Susan Quaiattini, Metro Police David Hunt, Ministry of Transportation,Deborah Wilkins, Cycle Watch Steve Lawrence, Toronto City Cycling Committee,Jasper Vrakking, McBrides Cycle

Morning Session: Barriers

The first part of the workshop was spent answering the first question;specifically, what are the barriers to enforcing bicycle infractions? Thesewere seen to be:

Competing demands for resources Shortage of personnel Shortage of moneyOther priorities The volume of infractions

Physical barriers

- Most police are in motor vehicles and just can't "catch"bikes.

Psychological barriers

- The police attitude: It's not "macho" to arrest cyclists."The citizensí attitude: Don't you cops have something better to do?"

Attitudinal barriers

- The public perception that a campaign is unfair or unwarranted.

- The perception that the bicycle is a "toy", not a vehicle".

Special barriers for kids under 12

- The police can't really do anything; under 16 kids can't be broughtto court.


Afternoon Session: Solutions

In general the findings of the afternoon dovetailed well with the findingsof the other workshops. Generally speaking, they fall into two ideas: thateducation is crucial, and that focusing on particular issues like nightlights will be more successful than a scattergun approach.

Education is crucial

- It can be funded or organized from outside the police force.

- We should stretch existing resources (e.g. by using bicycle officersat bike rodeos).

- The cycling community and auxiliary police could help design and carryout projects like roadside education booths, safety checks and park programsgeared at both adults and children.

- There should be a police-assisted safety component of the Bike toWork Week pancake breakfast. Bike Safety courses should be encouraged insteadof fines for apprehended violators.

The bike patrol should be increased

- At $1,600 per bike officer, perhaps the bike community could raisemoney to outfit more bike officers.

- The radio band used by bike officers will soon be freed up, makingthem more efficient.

Overall enforcement needs improvement

- The Bay Street Clearway needs better signs.

- 60 feet at each major intersection should be designated "no standing"instead of just "no parking".

Civilian bike monitors are probably not a good solution for Toronto;Inspector Dan Hutt is involved in a study that could examine the questionfurther.

Some points about money

- Fines from infractions cannot be channelled into bike enforcement.

- The Ministry of Transportation could approach the Chief Justice aboutscaled-down fines for the under-15-year-olds.

Some ways to improve perception of enforcement

- The Toronto City Cycling Committee should help to pre-publicize crack-downs.

- Cyclists endorse a 48-hour report back to the police with the missinglight/ reflector/etc. instead of a fine wherever appropriate.

Generally speaking, I believe that both police and cyclists were pleasantlysurprised by the degree to which we all seem to want to achieve the sameends in our various ways.

Special Note about Bike Lights

It seems especially clear that a multi-stage campaign to increase theuse of lights after dark, ending up with an enforcement blitz, would bea good idea. There are two good reasons to "focus" on lights:

- lack of lights at night seems to be a major, changeable cause of injuriesand deaths.

- Unlike other infractions, lightlessness continues probably for longperiods of time; three blocks after you spot them the lightless cyclistis still lightless .

The pre-enforcement stage of such a campaign would include:

- Getting standards for lights

- Letting bike stores know they could be considered liable if someonewho has bought a bike without a light is injured.

- Publicizing the fact that lights are mandatory (imagine a fancifullighted bike" after-dark parade!!!)

- Running a "cheap light" campaign subsidized by a light manufactureror other public-spirited company.

- Publicizing a specific light-crackdown.

Workshop summary prepared by Sarah Hood

Workshop IV

What enforcement methods can be used to increasecompliance with the law?


Ed Lamch, Metro Police, Will Wallace, Vice Chair, Toronto City CyclingCommittee


Brian Shaw, Metro Police, Robert Filbry, Metro Police ,Douglas Surphlis,Metro Police, Michael Mersereau, Metro Police, Phil Piltch, Toronto BicyclingNetwork Garry Wice, Toronto City Cycling Committee , Jeff Rabinovitch,Cycle Watch, Dennis Taves, Human Powered Vehicle Association, MargaretIutzi, Ontario Cycling Association, Al Armstrong, Metro Police

General Comments

The people in this workshop came from a wide variety of backgroundsand so approached cycling and its enforcement from various directions.Extreme points of view were briefly expressed: from a community cyclist,that police enforcement of cycling was a form of harassment that missedthe point that motorists are the cause of most traffic related injury anddeath; and that enforcement ought to be used to help control and reducethe excessive use of automobiles in this city. Resources used for the enforcementof cyclists should be directed at education. From a police officer involvedin traffic, that the fact, that cyclists do not pay direct road taxes shouldhave no effect on policy concerning the priorities for road users.

Generally, though, the group agreed that cyclists had the right to rideon the road and should be able to do so safely. The group also agreed thatcyclists are riding vehicles and should follow the rules of the road. Bikesand cars are compatible.

Many comments echoed those of keynote speaker, Charles Dunn. The keyto sharing the roads is establishing a positive and cooperative attitudeamong road users. In Metro Toronto, at present, the attitude is often aggressive,selfish and harried. Many cyclists contribute to the negative atmosphereby disregarding the rules of the road; they are also made vulnerable bythis atmosphere. There was consensus that education was key to gettingcompliance to the law. Enforcement is the last resort, but critical. Thegoal is behaviour modification; and the preferred approach is positivereinforcement of good behaviour. Cyclists must be shown that bad cyclingbehaviour does not get one further ahead.

Concern was expressed that if cycling behaviour is not addressed now,the increase in the cycling population will result in a huge, unwieldyproblem in the future. The time to develop and implement compliance strategiesis now.

A number of topics were touched on during the workshop. Often consensuswas not reached, but a sense of what comprised the problems was established.Participants were glad for the opportunity to open lines of communication.

Summary of Discussion

Identification Police officers were satisfied with the verbal identificationnow required by the HTA of cyclists who are stopped for traffic infractions.The problem of identifying cyclists, who had not been stopped by an officer,but had committed an infraction, remains.

Constable Surphlis identified bicycle couriers as the main causefor concern in this area. Because couriers are so high profile, their cyclingbehaviour has a huge impact relative to their numbers. They frighten pedestriansdowntown, threaten injury to themselves and others, raise the stress levelof all road users, harm the perception of the public to cyclists, and presenta generally poor example of riding style and behaviour to other cyclists,particularly children. Therefore, of all cyclists, the issue of identificationfor couriers was seen by the group as a priority.

Licensing of other cyclists, unless done on a province-wide way, wouldbe impractical. How would enforcement be carried out on cyclists who rodeinto Metro from another city or region? Licensing of all cyclists wouldbe costly and cumbersome, and the consensus was that any resources of thismagnitude would better be used for education. The group agreed that thenew identification requirement in the HTA needs more publicity.

Licensing of Couriers

Community cyclists and police officers agreed that the effects of courierbehaviour warrants licensing. The reason for licensing couriers was toassist in identification of couriers breaking the rules of the road. Themost popular idea was to require couriers to wear something with a numberand the company name on it. The group recommended that a committee be establishedto investigate how to proceed, and that Shannon Reiner from the Associationof Professional Urban Cyclists be contacted. Constables Surphlis and Lamchand Will Wallace expressed interest in working on this more.

Major Infractions

The group discussed the major cycling infraction, approached to enforcingthem and the reasons they happen.

Douglas Surphlis reported that his method of enforcement is discretionary.He will take into account traffic conditions (for example, a cyclist mayride on the sidewalk because the roadway may be unsafe), the manner (forexample, courteous or reckless) the cyclist is riding, and whether thecyclist is a repeat offender. Warnings, education or citations will begiven accordingly.

Sidewalks are an area of considerable conflict between cyclists andpedestrians. There are many reasons why cyclists ride on the sidewalk:they think that it is where they should be, expediency, fear of cyclingin traffic, poor or dangerous road conditions (dark tunnels, pot holes,for example). Nevertheless, the result is often intimidation, particularlyof senior citizens. The solution to the first three reasons is education,of the last two, engineering. Enforcement may be necessary in cases ofrecklessness, but it is not the best solution: enforcement alone will notincrease compliance.

Wrong-way riding (riding against traffic) or riding wrong way on a one-waystreet are dangerous to cyclists themselves. They are riding where theyare "not expected to be. Reasons for riding this way are lack of knowledge,wrong education or expediency. Again, proper education is essential, enforcementcannot work alone.

There was strong agreement that riding at night without lighting wasextremely . serious. Enforcement of lighting laws was strongly endorsed.However, concern was expressed about the lack of standards for bicyclelights, the low fine relative to other offenses, and the need to promotelights when the bicycle is bought, perhaps even requiring all bikes tobe equipped with lights when purchased.

Intersections are the most common scene of accidents. There is a highlevel of knowledge about expected behaviour at intersections, whether signedor signalled hut they are also where road users' behaviour has declinedmost. Enforcement seemed appropriate on this issue. There was some discussionabout the need for cyclists to stop at stop signs, especially on quietresidential streets. People generally agreed that stop signs need to berespected to ensure predictability of behaviour at a site of much potentialconflict. Engineering alternatives to the stop sign as a means of trafficcontrol might better meet the needs of cyclists, who prefer to maintainforward motion.

Pedestrian/cyclist conflict, particularly at crosswalks and streetcarstops, is a concern. Cyclists are required to stop at both crosswalks andstreet car stops for pedestrians; often they do not. Some education seemedappropriate here, particularly regarding behaviour with street cars. Cyclistsfrom the suburbs or elsewhere may not be familiar with street cars.

One recommendation to deal with these infractions and other cycle-relatedconcerns was to increase the number of questions on cycling in the automobilelicense drivers' test.


The group talked briefly about statistics collection. One recommendationwas that cyclists and pedestrians should be required to file an occurrencereport in the event of an accident.


The group discussed how the court system could better handle cyclingrelated infractions. One proposal was that cyclists who plead guilty couldhave a reduction in fine if they agreed to watch a safe cycling film, ortake a safe cycling course.

Charles Dunn's framework for organizing a juvenile court provoked wideresponse: criticism and praise. The system would have a lower scheduleof fines, which, if not paid at the time of the offense, would need tobe paid before the juvenile could get a motor vehicle license. Dennis Tavesstrongly objected to the bicycle, an environmentally sustainable mode oftransportation, being looked with the automobile in this way. Others sawthe program as an efficient way of collecting fines, which when made publicwould have an effect on the riding behaviour of young cyclists.

STEP (Selective Traffic Enforcement Program)

The group agreed that a STEP program works best when the targeted behaviouris clearly defined. A STEP program, such as RIDE, is not an enforcementprogram. ln large measure, it is a program of education. It will be successfulonly if it has community backing, that way a police officer can feel goodabout charging citizens who are generally law-abiding.

The reality is that a STEP program needs a major labour commitment thatthe police cannot afford. For a STEP program to be implemented the policewould require a lot of help from the cycling community. Of all issues facingcycling, lighting seemed a good candidate for a STEP program, Funding throughthe Attorney-General's office was suggested.


1. Police Bike patrols need expanding.

2. Comprehensive program regarding lighting compliance.

3. Couriers needs licensing; licensing of all cyclists is too unwieldy.

4.Courts should become more sensitive to cycling,

5. The new identification requirement in the HTA needs publicizing.

6. More questions related to cycling should be included on the motorvehicle drivers' test.

7. Cyclists and pedestrians should be required to give an accident occurrencereport to aid statistics collection

Workshop summary prepared by Will Wallace

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