Police crack down on campus cyclists

Kingston Police issue more tickets than usual to bikers

Laura McVey, ArtSci ’14, was issued a $325 ticket on Wednesday for running a red light while on her bike.
Laura McVey, ArtSci ’14, was issued a $325 ticket on Wednesday for running a red light while on her bike.

Last Wednesday, the Kingston Police Force (KPF) issued 42 tickets and 18 warnings for cycling violations.

The tickets are part of a police crackdown on bicyclists, following the introduction of ">CycleON: Ontario’s Cycling Strategy in late August.

The KPF has a Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) initiative, which enforces different laws under the Highway Traffic Act each month. Prior months have focused on cellphone use while driving and aggressive behaviour on the road.

The month of September focused on the Safe Cycling Initiative, which supports responsible cycling. According to Const. Steve Koopman, media relations officer at KPF, the theme was timely as it targets students moving back to town for the school year.

“I would imagine [that] during this initiative you will see a higher prominence of tickets ... because it’s an issue ... that we have received complaints on,” Koopman said.

“We have four officers to the traffic unit, so they would be the ones that would be specifically looking for [bicycle issues].”

If cars and pedestrians have to swerve out of the way because of a bicyclist, it poses a problem, Koopman said.

Under the bylaw, bicyclists must have a signaling device or light, as well as a bell.

The KPF is discretionary towards this, and ticketing depends on circumstances, he said.

“[The] Highway Traffic Act applies to bicycles as much as it does a motor vehicle,” Koopman said.

All of the laws that apply to cars are applicable to bicycles, including stopping for red lights, stop signs, signaling before turns and not traveling on the sidewalk.

Aside from the fine, a bicyclist can’t receive demerit points. Skateboarders and longboarders are also being ticketed, he added.

“Unfortunately, they are really not allowed on the road or on the sidewalk,” Koopman said, adding that officers will be very discretionary.

Rizlane Benchekroun, ArtSci ’14, was ticketed on Wednesday for failing to stop at a red light at the University Ave. and Brock St. intersection while riding her bike.

“This cop followed me on his motorcycle and he pulled me over. I apologized and said I was going to be late to class,” she said.

She was issued a ticket under the Highway Traffic Act for $325.

“I can understand it, but I feel like a warning should be given before a ... fine” she said. “They can make a difference between a car and a bike.”

The bylaws should not be the same between the two modes of transportation, she said.

Laura McVey, ArtSci ’14, was also issued a $325 ticket on Wednesday for running a red light while on her bike.

“If there are so many complaints they should make it known, because we didn’t know,” she said.

McVey was ticketed at the Johnson and Aberdeen Streets intersection.

“I feel like they’re doing it backwards and instead of preventing it, they’re just ticketing. I had no idea a bike counted as a car,” she said.

“Now I know, but it’s really expensive.”

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