Subject: Licensing of Cyclists and Couriers

Date: June 19, 1992

To: City Services Committee

From: Toronto City Cycling Committee

Recommendations:

1.That City Council not license bicycles or cyclists for the followingreasons:

a. that implementing a bicycle registration program (licensing thevehicle is not an effective method to change cycling behaviour,

b that the licensing of cyclists in the City of Toronto is not necessaryfor enforcement purposes because Police have the power through the HighwayTraffic Act (HTA) to obtain identification of a cyclist and lo issue tickets.

c. that the licensing of bicycle couriers is not necessary forenforcement purposes because Police have the power through the HighwayTraffic (HTA) to obtain identification of a cyclist and to issue tickets.

2. That the Toronto City Cycling Committee, in conjunction withthe Metro Toronto Police Force, the Metro Licensing Commission, and thebicycle courier industry, report back on programs that would increase bicyclecouriers’ compliance with the law, including information on:

i) the effect of increased enforcement

ii) the impact of proposed licensing on the courier industry

iii) education programs for couriers

iv) improvements in drop off locations for deliveries and otherfacilities

3. That City Council request that the Metro Toronto Police Force,in conjunction with the City Cycling Committee, pursue an expanded SelectiveTraffic Enforcement Program to deal with safety concerns related lo cyclists,including data collection on the number of accidents and the number oftickets issued to violators of the HTA and City and Metro By-laws.

4. That the Toronto City Cycling Committee continue to expand cyclingeducation programs for adult and child cyclists, through the CANBIKE educationprograms and report back on the development of these programs during the1993 budget process.

Background:

The City Services Committee is considering the issue of licensing cyclistsas a way of:

a) reducing the number of accidents caused by non-compliance with theHTA and municipal by- laws.

b) reducing the number of accidents that are caused by lack of skillor knowledge of a cyclist in how to deal with complex traffic situations.

c) addressing pedestrian and motorist complaints about irresponsiblecycling behaviour.

d) addressing cyclists' concerns about safety.

The following is the Toronto City Cycling Committee'sposition on these four points.

a) Compliance with the Laws:

To achieve a reduction in accidents, licensing would have to effectivelychange cyclists' compliance with the Highway Traffic Act and Municipalby-laws. The Metro Toronto Police Force has said that "from a policingperspective, licensing as a means to enhance enforcement is ineffectual.The requirement for cyclists to identify themselves under the HTA is sufficientfor policing purposes" (May 20, 1992 letter to the City Clerk). Infact, the Toronto City Cycling Committee initiated the request for changein the HTA to require that cyclist identify themselves to Police at its1985 Cycling and the Law Conference. With the adoption of Bill 219 in 1988,Police have had the ability to stop and ticket cyclists who are in violationof the law. Therefore, a bicycle licensing program would be unnecessaryand ineffectual to increasing enforcement. Police resources should be directedat enforcement of existing traffic laws and should not be diverted to enforcementof a licensing law.

b) Increase in skill and knowledge of the cyclist:

If a licensing program is to be effective in reducing accidents, itmust increase the skill level of cyclists in dealing with complex trafficsituations found in the City of Toronto. Registering bicycles, that isputting license plates on bicycles will not increase cyclists' skill, knowledge,or compliance with the law. Rather, the bicycle rider would have to belicensed to allow for effective education. This could include a writtenand on-road test similar to motor vehicle licensing. Although licensingcould ensure mandatory cyclist testing, this would be an expensive program.If funds are limited, it would be more effective to use those funds todevelop the CANBIKE program and other training program for cyclists. c)Addressing pedestrian and motorist complaints about irresponsible cyclingbehaviour:

Cyclists who ride on the sidewalk can be a hazard to pedestrians. Increasedenforcement of, and education about., by-law 522-78 is necessary. However,licensing cyclists would not improve enforcement of this by-law or otherHTA infractions, as Police will not issue a traffic ticket against a licensenumber of a vehicle based on a report by a bystander. Police must stopthe driver/rider at the time of the violation. Committee members have receivedlimited anecdotal reports of situations involving both cyclists(at fault) and pedestrians (at fault) who leave an accident without identifyingthemselves. But the Committee is not aware of any statistics onthese situations. The issue of lack of identification in the case of ahit and run incident needs further investigation and comment by the MetroToronto Police Force.

d) Addressing cyclists concerns about safety

Most. cyclists share motorist and pedestrian concerns about irresponsiblecycling behaviour. Increased enforcement, increased education and improvedon-road facilities will combine to alleviate the problem. Education mustalso be available to all road users, including new drivers, and pedestriansconcerning the proper operation of a bicycle in traffic. Many individualsdo not know that a bicycle, as a vehicle, is allowed to make a left turnfrom the centre of the left turn lane. Many individuals do not, realizethat a bicycle should be ridden legally down the middle of a lane whenit is too narrow to share. It is understandable when members of the generalpublic complain about cyclists riding irresponsibly. But, there is dangerto cyclists in the fact that members of the public also complain aboutthe presence or positioning on the road of cyclists who are operating theirvehicles in a legal and safe manner.

Cyclists also have concerns about the level of enforcement of infractionsby motorists and pedestrians that cause injuries and deaths to cyclists.In approximately two thirds of bike accidents reported to the Police themotorist was at fault.

Comments on Recommendations:

1a. That implementing a bicycle registration program (licensingthe vehicle) is not an effective method to change cycling behaviour.

Vehicle registration does not assist the police in enforcing the lawand does nothing to educate the rider. Theft of bicycle license plates,along with theft of other safety equipment (i.e. bells, lights, mirrors,etc.) is a major problem for cyclists and complicates the effectivenessof a licensing program. Bicycle registration programs were in place inToronto between 1935 and 1956 and were discontinued because bicycle vehiclelicensing involved excessive costs for minimal effectiveness. The Committeebelieves that bicycle vehicle registration is the least effective way ofincreasing rider compliance with the law.

Bicycle registration as an antitheft measure will have to be reassesseddue to the high rate of bicycle theft in the City of Toronto. Bicycle registrationin the past has only been of minor assistance in returning bicycles thathave been stolen and recovered by the Police. The Police currently operatea voluntary registration program for bicycles.

1b. That the licensing of cyclists in the City of Toronto is notnecessary for enforcement purposes because Police have the power throughthe Highway Traffic Act (HTA) to obtain identification of a cyclist andto issue tickets.

Licensing of cyclists in a similar manner to licensing of motoristscould ensure mandatory cyclist testing because an effective program wouldinclude both on-road and written tests. A licensing program also mightensure that the general public is more aware that a bicycle is a legitimatevehicle and not a toy. There are benefits to each of these points. However,licensing cyclists at this level must be evaluated on the basis of thecost to administer and enforce the program, problems of jurisdiction, minimumage of cyclists to be licensed and effectiveness of such a program in increasingcompliance with the law.

Jurisdiction:

It would be impractical for the City or Metro to implement a local bicyclelicensing program due to the number of bicycles that cross boundaries.Municipalities can only license bicycles of residents within their municipality.Police would have no way of knowing which cyclists are residents of Torontoand which cyclists live elsewhere. This would become more important ascyclists have the opportunity to combine modes of transportation (e.g.GO trains and bicycles).

Cost:

Extra staff would be required at Motor Vehicle Licensing Offices throughoutthe Province if the Government of Ontario were to assume responsibilityof licensing and administering the tests. The unit cost for licensing onecar driver is $25.00 (according to the Ministry of Transportation), whichincludes direct costs for written and driving tests and the license itself.This does not include the cost of program development, rental for buildingsand support personnel required to administer the licensing program. Ifthe costs are the same for licensing a cyclist, than the minimum cost forlicensing the 400,000 plus adult cyclists (age 15 and over) in Metro Torontowould be more than $10,000,000. It is unrealistic to expect that casualcyclists, (those that ride once or twice a year) would be willing to payfor a license on a cost recovery basis. Such a licensing program may reducethe number of cyclists, which would be contrary to long standing Councilpolicy and the Toronto City Cycling Committee mandate of encouraging bicycletransportation.

Age of Cyclists:

Enforcement of cycling related laws create special problems in relationto children. Under the age of 12, children are immune from prosecutionwhether they have licenses or not. If a child was not under direct parentalsupervision at the time of offence, the parent cannot be charged becausethey would have no knowledge about the child's behaviour. Because childrenstart riding bicycles at an early age, it is difficult to decide on anappropriate age to begin licensing.

Cost Effectiveness:

If licensing is not necessary for enforcement purposes, the Committeesuggests that the resources used to administer the license, test the cyclist,and enforce the licensing program would be better allocated to enforcementof existing laws and promotion of bicycle education courses.

1c. That the licensing of bicycle couriers is not necessary forenforcement purposes. Police have the power through the Highway TrafficAct (HTA) to obtain identification of cyclists and to issue tickets.

At this time the City Cycling Committee is not recommending bicyclecourier licensing as necessary for enforcement purposes. The HTA and municipalby-laws apply to all cyclists and the Police have the authority to ticketall violators.

2. That the Toronto City Cycling Committee, in conjunction withthe Metro Toronto Police Force, the Metro Licensing Commission, and thebicycle courier industry, report back on programs that would increase bicyclecouriers’ compliance with the law, including information on:

i) the effect of increased enforcement

ii) the impact of proposed licensing on the courier industry

iii)education programs for couriers

iv) improvements in drop off location for deliveries and otherfacilities

i) the effect of increased enforcement

With the introduction of the STEP program, Police Officers will be increasingthe level of enforcement of bicycle infractions. This will affect bicyclecouriers and should have an impact on riding behaviour. A bicycle courierwho makes $100 per day cannot afford a $83.75 ticket for riding on thesidewalk.

ii) the impact of proposed licensing on the courierindustry

The Committee will continue to investigate the issue of licensing ofbicycle couriers as one of the possible strategies to influence ridingbehaviour. The Committee is monitoring the number of tickets issued tobicycle couriers by 52 Division Police. In the summer of 1991, half ofthe tickets issued to cyclists were issued to regular cyclists, half tobicycle couriers. The Committee has requested a breakdown in the numberof accidents involving bicycle couriers and will encourage courier companiesto assist us in this data collection. While we lack good statistical dataon accidents involving bicycle couriers, studies in other major centressuggest that bicycle couriers do not have, per kilometre travelled, anaccident rate above the average for all cyclists.

The Committee also needs to review the implications of licensing onthe courier industry. Bicycle couriers provide a valuable service to theCity by reducing congestion and pollution. If licensing fees were prohibitive,courier companies might switch to motorized vehicles.

iii) education programs for couriers

To date, only three bicycle couriers have taken the CANBIKE II educationcourse. The Committee plans to encourage more couriers and their companiesto become involved in this program. The Committee is working with courierson a "code of ethics" and other incentives to promote an imageof couriers as "expert and legal" bicycle operators.

iv) improvements in drop off locations for deliveriesand other facilities

The Committee continues to meet on a regular basis with bicycle couriersto discuss problems in the industry. Lack of courier bicycle parking andeasy access to buildings often leads to short cuts" (e.g. riding thewrong way on one way streets, and riding on sidewalks). Conditions thatencourage these short cuts must be addressed by not just the couriers,but also by courier companies and building managers. The piece-rate paysystem means couriers must ride fast to make a decent wage and dealingwith this situation must involve the cooperation of their employers.

The Toronto City Cycling Committee, in a separate report to City ServicesCommittee, has requested that Council appoint a member of the bike courierindustry to sit as an official representative on the Committee. The Committeewants to foster a closer working relationship with bike couriers on theseissues.

3. That City Council request that the Metro Toronto Police Force,in conjunction with the City Cycling Committee, pursue an expanded SelectiveTraffic Enforcement Program to deal with safety concerns related to cyclists,including data collection on the number of accidents and the number oftickets issued to violators of the HTA and City and Metro By-laws.

The Committee supports the increase in enforcement of existing trafficlaws as the single most effective method of increasing cyclists' compliancewith the law.

4. That the Toronto City Cycling Committee continue to expandcycling education programs for adult and child cyclists, through the CANBIKEeducation programs and report back on the development of these programsduring the 1993 budget process.

The Committee recognizes that cyclists who are well educated will ridemore responsibly. A skilled cycling population means that more peer pressurewill be exerted on cyclists who ride illegally and irresponsibly. The CANBIKEprogram consists of on-road courses designed for both novice and experiencedcyclists. CANBIKE graduates include members of the Police Bike Squads,teachers and City employees who use their bike for work. The Committeeconsiders that bicycle education is an important factor in increasing cyclistcompliance with the law.


Dec. 3, 1992

Metro Councillor Bev Salmon

Committee Chairman, Legislation and Licensing Committee

55 John St. Toronto ON. M5V 3C6

Dear Councillor Salmon:

The Toronto City Cycling Committee is reporting to Toronto City Councilon the issue of licensing Bicycle Couriers. in order to complete this report,the Committee needs to continue its previous work with the Legislationand Licensing Committee to acquire additional information on this matter.Without this information we cannot adequately assess the effects of licensingon this industry.

As you know, bike couriers provide a valuable service to businessesin the downtown core. We would not want to intervene in established commercialrelationships without understanding the repercussions. Bicycle couriersare a unique part of the cartage industry because they provide a low-cost,efficient and dependable delivery service to large and small businesses.

We also do not want to disrupt the livelihood of people employed inthis industry. Income levels for bike couriers are marginal, which makesthem vulnerable. In addition, the City is committed to reducing air pollutionand congestion especially in the downtown core where many bicycle courierswork. The Cycling Committee needs to evaluate whether licensing bicyclecouriers will force companies to drop bicycle deliveries in favour of cardeliveries.

Additionally, the City is committed to reducing air pollution and congestionespecially in the downtown core where many bicycle couriers work. The Committeeneeds to evaluate whether licensing bicycle couriers will force companiesto drop bicycle deliveries in favour of car deliveries.

The Cycling Committee is also committed to improving safety and reducingaccidents involving cyclists and other road users. Obviously, any proposedlicensing program must consider whether substantial gains can be made inreducing injuries and accidents. This information is crucial to us to beable to report back on the effects of licensing on this industry.

At this point, the Cycling Committee has a fair understanding of theconcerns of bicycle couriers. We have been working with bicycle courierson safety related issues and will have a courier representative appointedby City Council to sit. on the Committee beginning in 1993. However, weneed further information on the impact of licensing on the courier companies.

I am requesting your assistance to provide the following information:

1. How many Courier Companies employ bicycle couriers?

2. How many car bicycle and walking couriers are employed at each company?(please include information on those working seasonally in the summer andthose working year-round)

3.Are bicycle and walking couriers employees of the company or individualagents contracted by the company?

4 Are bicycle couriers working for courier companies currently coveredby any kind of insurance or benefits? (include information on third partyliability, as well as personal health and workman's compensation insurance).

5. What proportion of deliveries made by the courier company are madeby bicycle couriers and walking couriers ? What distances do these courierscover? What is the average price per delivery of goods and what portionof that fee is earned by the courier? What is the average weekly wage ofa bicycle courier?

6. How many bicycle couriers have accidents with (a) cars, (b) pedestrians,(c) road hazards (eg. tracks)? How many bicycle couriers in your servicewould you estimate receive tickets far- Highway Traffic Act infractions?

7. What would be the impact of bicycle courier licensing on the couriercompany?

If the Licensing Commission does not have this information, the Committeewould be happy to help prepare a questionnaire to be distributed to licensedcartage firms.

The Cycling Committee would also appreciate some background informationon the workings of the Commission on issues of complaints, fees and training.Can you provide information on how Metro Licensing Commission deals withcomplaints {on Highway Traffic Act infractions or other citizen complaints)for drivers who are licensed? Can you provide information on the licensefee? What portion of that, fee pays for the license, testing, identificationand supervision of drivers who are licensed? As the Committee is concernedwith safety and training, can you provide information on the "in-house"Taxicab Driver's Training School operated by the Metro Licensing Commission?

The committee has programs of both enforcement and education which willimpact courier riding behavior. I have attached a report on licensing withattachments from the Metro Toronto Police Forceand Ministry of Transportation.

Thank you for your assistance in this matter.

Sincerely

Councillor Rob Maxwell

Co-Chair Toronto City Cycling Committee

c.c. John Phillips, Legal , Neville Alexander, A.P.U.C., Metro CouncillorHoward Moscoe


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