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cityscape

Poll: Majority of Torontonians Want to See Cyclists Licensed

But polls have said such things before—and it's never going to happen.

Photo by gbalogh, from the Torontoist Flickr pool.

A Leger poll commissioned by insurance marketplace Kanetix has found that 66.7 per cent of Torontonians approve of the idea of licensing cyclists. The poll results are consistent with a 2012 Forum poll, which pegged the approval rating at 65 per cent.

The idea of licensing cyclists as we do car drivers has been around for over 80 years—in fact, Toronto cyclists were licensed from 1935 to 1957. According to an amendment signed by Mayor Nathan Phillips, the program ended up being discontinued in part because licensing caused “an unconscious contravention of the law at a very tender age” in that the law was so consistently ignored by young people. The same amendment noted that the licensing also created “poor public relations between police officers and children.”

Council has revisited and rejected the idea of licensing cyclists at least five times since 1984. Staff reports produced throughout the years cite concerns about its prohibitively high cost, the practical difficulties of licensing young cyclists, and the possibility that licensing would act as a deterrent for casual cyclists—and point out that cyclists are already subject to the rules of the road.

Councillor Mike Layton (Ward 19, Trinity-Spadina) rejects the idea that licensing cyclists would improve outcomes for road users. “I think what we should be doing is enforcing the rules of the road on all road users,” he told Torontoist, adding that the introduction of licensing would likely kill Toronto’s Bike Share program.

Basically, in the words of noted cycling advocate Regina George: bike licensing is not going to happen, so stop trying to make it happen.


CORRECTION: May 9, 2014, 9:45 AM This post originally referred to Kanetix as an insurance provider; in fact it is an insurance marketplace. We regret the error.

Comments

  • Sean_Marshall

    I’m sure Kanetix (and the auto insurance lobby) likes the idea of licencing cyclists because it will be a step towards mandatory insurance for cyclists as well.

  • Bianca

    While I agree it’ll definitely never happen, nor is even necessary, what needs to happen is for a significant increase in ticketing. I see too many idiots rolling right through stop signs at full speed, running red lights, going the wrong way up streets, etc. You want to be treated like a motorist? Then fucking act like one.

    • gggg

      Most motorist don’t act like motorists by your standards.

    • Steveinto

      most drivers act the way you describe. The difference being motorists kill.

      • andrew97

        Ask Nobu Okamoto if he enjoyed getting hit by a cyclist while he was walking on the sidewalk. Oops, actually you can’t ask him because he’s dead.

        • tomwest

          Ask the 3,000 people who die every year in cars. Ooops, you can’t ask them, nor can you name them, because car deaths are so much more common than cyclist-caused deaths it’s a statistic rather than a memorable news item

          • andrew97

            So what you’re saying is, it’s correct to say “motorists kill *more*”, not “motorists kill”.

          • Ford4ever

            Is that seriously your response?

        • ExcessOfConstraint

          Do you know any of the names of the dozens of people killed by cars in the GTA every year?

          Oops, you don’t, because it’s become so common you don’t even notice. But yes, it’s the cyclists that are the problem.

          • andrew97

            I am amused that you think dangerous driving makes cycling safe for pedestrians.

          • ExcessOfConstraint

            I’m baffled that you think I wrote that anywhere.

            Oh, wait. That’s just a silly deflection on your part.

          • andrew97

            I should not have been flippant. However, it is not as though we can only ask one group of road users to be safe at a time. Even if it is indisputably true that cars are more dangerous to pedestrians than bikes, it is also true that bikes are dangerous and it’s right to expect cyclists to respect pedestrians. I don’t understand why it makes cyclists so mad to ask that they not ride fast on the sidewalk or blow through red lights.

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            I’m “amused” you think motorists killing scores of people a year and a cyclist killing one person in recent memory are remotely the same sort of problem.

          • ginnee

            When you’re a pedestrian brushed by a cyclist speeding past you by millimetres, it’s very terrifying and many elderly can’t hear them coming.
            I’m constantly frustrated by the cyclists and motorists who turn the sidewalk cyclist argument into an “It’s OK, cyclists don’t kill as many people as cars do” argument or “Pedestrians cause a lot of cars and bikes to hit them” argument.
            You know why there are no statistics? Because the police don’t gather them. The accidents happen but the police won’t bother coming to the scene because the cyclist is long gone.

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            Nobody says it doesn’t happen, but it isn’t nearly the scourge it’s being presented as here, and licensing isn’t going to stop it from happening either. Licensing motorists doesn’t stop them from killing and injuring hundreds of people a year, or breaking other laws.

            Until a few months ago TPS wasn’t keeping track of serious injuries to cyclists either. Until the government treats cycling as a legitimate mode of transport, and cyclists as equal under the law, nothing will change.

          • andrew97

            I agree that licensing isn’t the answer, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask cyclists to respect pedestrians, to the same degree that cyclists want respect from motorists. Do you?

          • Martha Hunter
          • andrew97

            Please explain how that cartoon is relevant.

          • Martha Hunter

            To quote you: “So what you’re saying is, it’s correct to say “motorists kill *more*”, not “motorists kill”.”

            Rather like the motorist equivalent of saying “Well, not ALL men” to derail a legitimate discussion. You and Not-All-Man should really think of starting some sort of league.

          • andrew97

            The Factual Accuracy League.

          • Ford4ever

            Female logic? Gotta love it!

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            This comic is sexist and irresponsible, but that’s a topic for elsewhere.

          • dsmithhfx

            It’s funny as hell, and spot on — that makes you uncomfortable?

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            No, it’s not unreasonable at all, but it isn’t nearly the same kind or magnitude of problem motorists failing to respect cyclists/pedestrians is.

            “No bikes on sidewalks” is an out-dated notion, and excising it would help solve our bike lane problem. If cities as far and wide as Osaka and Vienna can put bike lanes in their sidewalks, so can we.

          • dsmithhfx

            While cars are statistically far more dangerous, by virtue of speed and mass if nothing else, I have to agree that bicyclists on the sidewalk (and sometimes in the crosswalk, as some seem to feel traffic laws are irrelevant to them) are a rather more omnipresent danger for pedestrians, even if the injuries inflicted are usually much less catastrophic.

            We need a two-pronged enforcement effort by our overpaid and under-worked police force, along with new, draconian legislation for scofflaw-style infractions, involving stiff fines, seizure of vehicles, multi-year driving bans, and jail sentences.

          • Ford4ever

            With licensing people can at least identify the bicycle involved and then find to whom that bike is registered.

          • Ford4ever

            Cyclists cause accidents with the idiotic and unpredictable moves they make on the roads and then have the temerity to try and blame the evil automobile drivers.

      • Ford4ever

        So can cyclists and they have.

    • https://paul.kishimoto.name/ Paul Kishimoto

      A few months ago, I was contemplating a possible move to Davis, CA. People said the city was bike-friendly, but warned that tickets are common for riding at night without lights, or rolling through stop signs (http://daviswiki.org/Bike_Traps).

      I shrugged.
      I’m fine with ticketing, because I obey the rules of the road.

      So, please don’t “fucking act” like I’m among your “too many idiots.”

    • http://muralform.com Jason

      I completely agree!!!! I biked everywhere for the majority of my life . When I finally got a car I then suddenly realized how stupid and irresponsibly I was being as a cyclist. There is to much grey area for bicyclist there is no common standard for a person who wants to ride a bike, anybody with no understanding of the rules of the road can just start to ride a bike, that’s absurd. We need something for bicyclist there must be some standard which we clearly do not have, there is no arguing that fact. It is just simply true. I repeat there is no standard for bicyclist!!!!!!!!!! Thats means more tickets licened insurance but something needs to happen.

      • the_lemur

        There are all kinds of rules in the HTA for cyclists.

        • http://muralform.com Jason

          oh geez I dint know about them and the majority of cyclist don’t either . Something not just nothing

      • ExcessOfConstraint

        What do you mean there’s no standards for cyclists? There’s the HTA. What other standard do you think there needs to be?

        • Ford4ever

          Enforcement for cyclists which cannot be done effectively without a means of identifying offending cyclists. Therefore, a license.

      • Ford4ever

        Right on.

    • Sean_Marshall

      As long as police look the other way on the little stuff, like rolling through 4-way stops when there’s no one else with right of way (cars roll through stops all the time), I would like to see more ticketing – especially at red lights. Nothing bugs me more when a slow cyclists passes me as I’m stopped at the light, then I have to make my way around him or her further up the way. I’m a relatively fast cyclist, and I hate having to pass the same slow moron two or three times in a row.

      • tomwest

        I’d like to see that ticketing for car drivers, too.

      • Martha Hunter

        Yeah, make a place for the Idaho Stop in the law and I’m there.

        • Ford4ever

          Instead of obeying the rules of the road, this one wants special rules for the precious bicyclists. I got your Idaho stop right here baby.

    • Ruby Hlynsky

      Honestly, I don’t see what the big deal is. If you aren’t wearing headphones you have a much clearer sense than someone in a car as to whether or not someone will be hurt (either you or a pedestrian) if you go through a red. It’s not a big deal. I agree that many cyclists pull stupid moves, but I don’t see the problem with minor traffic violations. What is the risk, really, with someone riding the wrong way up a residential street? Plenty of streets have contra-share bike lanes which means that cyclists are doing exactly that, albeit legally. Is the issue that you have an obsession with rules? Are you jealous of our freedom? Cars have strict laws because if you hit someone with a car *you may kill them*.

      • andrew97
        • ExcessOfConstraint

          You realize that those are ‘man bites dog’ stories, right? We don’t see a lot of hoo-ha about drivers killing people because it happens all the time.
          That doesn’t mean that it’s not the cars that are the problem.

          • andrew97

            I wouldn’t characterize two deaths and one critical injury in three years as terribly uncommon.

          • ExcessOfConstraint

            You wouldn’t? That’s less people than are killed by donkeys. It’s less people than die from a fall in the shower. By any measure, deaths and injuries caused by cyclists are extremely uncommon.

          • andrew97

            In the last three years, were two people killed and one critically injured by donkeys in the GTA? Citation please.

          • ExcessOfConstraint

            Oh, please stop deflecting. It just makes you look desperate.

          • Ford4ever

            As the number of cyclists (particularly the idiotic variety,of which there are many) increases the carnage caused will increase; don;t despair, just give it time. The point is that cyclists currently can avoid accountability, which is something many of them are accustomed to doing throughout all facets of their lives. Licensing will make them accountable. The alternative is vigilante citizen groups following bicycle offenders until they catch them and then involving the police.

          • OgtheDim

            I would characterize those deaths and injuries as something worth doing something about.

            That something would NOT be demanding a bureaucratic system which will do nothing to stop those injuries happening but will make insurance companies happy.

            In point of fact, what is worth doing, which people are actually suggesting on here, is enforcing the HTA.

          • andrew97

            I agree completely.

        • Ford4ever

          $400 fine. Oh wow! I’ll bet the victim with the fractured skull will be relieved that justice has been done…as soon as they can remember what the hell $400 is.

    • tomwest

      I see idiots rolling right through stop signs at full speeds and ifnoring red lights, turning left without looking… the scary part is they’re driving cars

      • Ford4ever

        No bigger idiot than a cyclist riding through downtown Toronto in a snow storm…they deserve whatever they get, it is called “thinning the herd”.

    • ExcessOfConstraint

      You mean, kill a few dozen people a year? You want me to act like a motorist, stop treating me like a second-class citizen on the roads.

      • Ford4ever

        Get a license, obey the rules and you can have some respect.

        • ExcessOfConstraint

          Go away, astroturfer.

          • Ford4ever

            No, I won’t be doing that. Of course, the peons who administer this site may do your work for you as they seem to arbitrarily and capriciously delete anything with which they disagree….typical lefty approach…..hope to see you on the streets.

      • Ford4ever

        Get a license and behave and maybe you will get some respect.

    • Notcleverguy

      My bike does not have a motor, so no, I do not want to be treated like a motorist. I want to be treated like a cyclist, with a safe and effective system in which to commute on my bicycle.

  • iSkyscraper

    It should be noted that not a single city nor state/province in North America has licensing of cyclists. Wisdom of crowds…

    • Ford4ever

      DEAD WRONG! Check your facts.

      • iSkyscraper

        Says the person who provides none.

        While many cities have bike registration (sometimes called “licensing”), this is just for creating a database to aid in recovering stolen property. And Hawaii does actually have a bicycle tax. But no one licenses bicyclists as we do cars as a matter of public safety.

        By all means, please post your facts here when you can prove otherwise.

  • wren

    How about instead of greater enforcement of the rules of the road (for cyclists), or more rules (for cyclists), we build better, safer roads. For cyclists..thanks Kanetix. Thanks TO.
    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/05/140503-bicycles-commuters-amsterdam-netherlands/

    • https://paul.kishimoto.name/ Paul Kishimoto

      There’s an election coming up. One of the leading candidates thinks, wrongly, that there is an unavoidable trade-off between pedestrian/cyclist safety, and reducing traffic congestion. He doesn’t care much for safety:
      http://cycleto.ca/news/2014/04/22/john-torys-proposal-cancel-eglinton-connects-irresponsible-and-short-sighted

    • tomwest

      Almost all the rules that apply to car drivers also apply to cyclists. The exceptions relate to stuff like driving on the 401.

      • Ford4ever

        There are bicycling zealots (Yvonne Bambrick) who advocate bicycle lanes on 400 series highways. No, this is not a joke (of course, in a logical context it most certainly is a joke, but we are dealing with cycle nuts, so logic is not at issue)

  • wallywhack

    I’m no libertarian, but if this happens you can make room for at least one 44 year old skateboarder.

    • Ford4ever

      A brilliant plan.

  • JDHalperin

    A license is needed for drivers because a test must be passed before granting someone the freedom to control a 2000 pound machine that reaches speeds well over 100 kilometers an hour.

    Funny how conservative-minded people support licensing cyclists, when normally they hate government interference in day to day life and detest money grabs. Ideologically, cycling is the most innately libertarian mode of transit, as you can get to precisely where you are to where you need to be without depending on any tax-funded transit alternative.

    More conservatives should love cyclists.

    • http://muralform.com Jason

      are you saying that a bicyclist cant just veer into traffic. Thus endangering multiple 2000 pound cars and lives?

      • estta

        Yea but so could a pedestrian.

        • http://muralform.com Jason

          eh good point.

      • tomwest

        … because when a bicycle veers into traffic, are the drivers of the 2000lb vehicle are the ones who will probably die?

        • Ford4ever

          So, if such a scenario occurs, your advice to drivers is to not swerve and possibly cause an accident that could injure them, but instead just continue along the same path and run over the cyclist? Alright, if that is what you want.

      • Ford4ever

        Of course, if that 2000 pound “evil” car swerves to avoid hitting the cyclist and becomes involved in a collision then the cyclist is the proximate cause of that collision.

    • Ford4ever

      Do away with motor vehicle licensing and insurance and we can drop the issue of bicycle licensing; until then, I will hammer away at it mercilessly.

  • Geraldine Cahill

    Licensing will undo years of work campaigning for healthy lifestyles and helping support the environment. It will almost certainly put more cars on the road, which will frustrate already frustrated drivers. I think a lot of cyclists are unsure about the rules of the road. I think the City and Cycle Toronto could put together a comprehensive visual education campaign along well-cycled paths to inform cyclists of certain things. No one teaches the rules otherwise. Things like giving way to streetcars, stopping for pedestrians at crossings etc.

    • http://muralform.com Jason

      well put

  • EDMUNDOCONNOR

    Licensing isn’t required. Energetic and sustained enforcement of the rules is. In northern Scarborough and southern Markham, I never ever seen a police officer (TPS or York Region Police) taking the slightest interest in grown adults cycling on the sidewalk. I would remind them of the law myself, but I have to remember that will almost certainly result in elevated blood pressure (me) and blank incomprehension (them). There should be an emphasis on education, but eventually the police do need to be taking action against the repeat offenders.

  • Scott Armitage

    “… and point out that cyclists are already subject to the rules of the road.”

    I’m sorry, but I can’t read this with a straight face. Most cyclists in this city blatantly ignore the rules of the road — also known as laws — because they feel they don’t apply to them.

    • Steveinto

      As do drivers. When I cycle I take my cue from drivers, they blatantly disobey the highway traffic act so it must be OK for me to do. Since the police ignore drivers that drive carelessly unless it is a blitz are confirming that rules and laws can be ignored.

      • Scott Armitage

        That others violate the law is no reason for you to do so. You are simply helping to perpetuate an unacceptable status quo.

        • Steveinto

          I still believe that and try to adhere to that belief, but the current social and political situtaion here and elsewhere is wearing me thin.
          As you can see in the discussion on cycling, all cyclist are bad and all drivers are good.
          That is the point of my post.

          • Scott Armitage

            Not true; there are some truly dipshit drivers out there, and I shake my head at them the same as I do bad cyclists. That said, truly obscene drivers tend to stand out as more of an exception. Most driving infractions are relatively minor, i.e. squeaking through an amber light, exceeding the speed limit, only coming to a rolling stop, etc.

            This is as compared to many cyclists that simply blow through red lights and stop signs as if they aren’t there, or switch back and forth between the road and the sidewalk depending on what suits their mood, or cycle at full speed across cross-walks.. There are good cyclists out there, I know a few of them, but there are also many terrible cyclists, and I know a few of them too.

    • ExcessOfConstraint

      Just because someone ignores a law doesn’t mean they aren’t subject to it.

      BTW, I have had a close call with a car while riding to or from work every day this week; and every time I’ve been obeying the law. It’s the drivers that are dangerous.

      • Scott Armitage

        My whole point is that the laws they have now and are already subject to need to be enforced. You don’t (necessarily) need licensing for that.

        • Ford4ever

          I believe you do need licensing for that to happen and I further know that for a host of reasons, it will eventually happen.

      • Ford4ever

        Dangerous to cyclists who pull idiotic moves, yes.

        • ExcessOfConstraint

          Riding in a bike lane and having a car illegally cross and almost hit me is entirely the driver’s fault, astroturfer. You know nothing about cycling or road laws.

    • Notcleverguy

      Saying most is funny.

      Just because some are, this often shapes the memory and opinion of people, while the hundreds that do cycle according to the law are easily forgotten about.

    • Ford4ever

      You said it.

  • estta

    The problem isn’t a lack of licensing, it’s a lack of enforcement of existing laws for both car drivers and cyclists. What we need are better, unobstructed bike lanes.

  • tomwest

    You can still sue the cyclist.

    • Mojo

      Hardly. I was once hit so hard by a cyclist that he knocked me out of my shoes. He just got up and rode away. No license plate = no identification = no problem for the cyclist.

      • https://paul.kishimoto.name/ Paul Kishimoto

        How does this relate to shoogle’s comment about his vehicle?

        Also, don’t pretend that license plates are any use to a pedestrian or cyclist forced off the road by a motor vehicle. No one can memorize a plate number while trying to avoid a broken neck.

        • Mojo

          I was replying to tomwest’s comment that “you can still sue the cyclist”, as you can clearly see from the comment tree.

          And yes, I will say that people can memorize license plates during/after an accident, since I’ve done it. If you don’t think you’d be able to, that’s cool. But you aren’t everybody. People report license plate numbers all the time. Really.

      • ExcessOfConstraint

        Since a license plate identifies a vehicle, not an operator, what good would that have done?

        • Mojo

          It would have at least been a good start on identifying SOMEONE involved in the accident, either the cyclist themselves, or potentially the person who lent the bicycle, in the same way it would be a starting point for identification when there’s a car accident. Having a starting point is a hell of a lot better than watching a cyclist pedal away forever immediately after running you over. And I say that from very unpleasant experience. They do it in other countries – the Netherlands for example.

          And I was specifically responding to the “you can still sue the cyclist” which followed the comment about a cyclist damaging a car and riding away. My point was that you can’t, if they ride away, because there’s NO way to identify it. Is that really something worth arguing about? I didn’t say it was going to solve every situation. You normally post pretty reasonable stuff, so I’m just shocked at your comment to me. In the never-ending TO cycling debate/debacle, we all need to bend a little.

          • ExcessOfConstraint

            The point is that licenses for cyclists are something that is not required. There are no situations that a license would help where there is not already something in place.

            Licenses do not create accountability. They do not create identification. All they are is yet another barrier to cycling adoption. You don’t get people to stop riding on sidewalks by putting plates on bikes, you do it by creating ways to ride safely on roads.

  • ExcessOfConstraint

    When a motorist clips me with his mirror and drives off (as has happened 3 times in a year), what do I do? Call the cops with no witnesses? Yeah, that gets me a long way.

  • OgtheDim

    Although many cyclists break the HTA, the idea that they are therefore licensable is laughable.

    The technologies are not the same.

    A license does not make somebody a better driver.

    • Ford4ever

      God knows what you find laughable about it, but that is your problem. It is in fact entirely feasible and is already done in many jurisdictions.

      • ExcessOfConstraint

        Name one. Name ONE jurisdiction that has the kind of cyclist licensing program you want enacted here, astroturfer.

        • Ford4ever

          Medford Oregon. A free plate for identification purposes. That is right, I would be willing to have automobile drivers subsidize the cost of licensing the bikes in order to achieve greater accountability on the roads. What say you now?

          • ExcessOfConstraint

            I say that the Medford ordinance requiring bike licensing no longer exists (repealed due to impracticality), was never a licensing scheme used for owner identification in the first place, and was never a plate that could be seen by passers-by.

            You have yet to name ONE jurisdiction that has the kind of cyclist licensing program you want enacted here.

          • Ford4ever

            Whether it currently exists or does not is of absolutely no interest to me or anyone else, except apparently yourself. Why you would feel compelled to take your public policy cues from other jurisdictions rather than developing your own speaks to your mentality. Get ready for your license…coming soon.

          • ExcessOfConstraint

            You have yet to name ONE jurisdiction that has the kind of cyclist licensing program you want enacted here. You’ve certainly succeeded in demonstrating a striking amount of intellectual dishonesty, though.

            Bike licenses will not happen in Toronto, regardless of what you regressive anti-cycling fanatics think.

          • ExcessOfConstraint

            You have yet to name ONE jurisdiction that has the kind of cyclist licensing program you want enacted here. You’re the one claiming it’s both feasible and accomplished, so let’s see you demonstrate the proof of your claim.

            YOU brought up other jurisdictions, not I. Am I to assume that you’re backing away from your claim? The one program you brought up was eliminated because it was a bad, impractical, unworkable idea. That should tell you something.

          • Ford4ever

            I will take your word for that and, fair enough, I have not conducted an exhaustive and thorough exploration of international legislation and regulations pertaining to bicycles. I will once again advance the proposition that it should be for each jurisdiction to from its own consensus on such issues and, if the polls are correct, Torontonians find merit in a bicycle licensing scheme for many reasons.

          • Ford4ever

            I am trying to reply to your comment but it was apparently deleted, though I have no idea why. As an aside to any censors, I was not in the least offended by ANYTHING this individual has written so why their comments are being deleted is a mystery to me (and if I were offended, so what?) In any event, I will reiterate that I am not terribly interested in what other jurisdictions may or may not choose to do, I prefer to make my own judgments and act accordingly.

  • wklis

    I can just see some little 5-year old girl or boy being taken in for failure to carry a license on them.

  • mixandserve

    Often the loudest rants about bikes come from the pettiest of drivers. I can’t count the number of times my safety is put on the line because of some perceived slight on the part of an idiot motorist.

    Cyclists, how often have you weaved through a long line of traffic at one light and got yourself up to the front of the line, only to have some yahoo whiz by as close as possible because they want to express their rage that you aren’t stopped 10 cars back as he was forced to be? (or, the default, at the next light he pulls as close as possible to the curb so you have to pass on the left)

    Or how often have you had some knob so angry that they were (momentarily) delayed by you, unjustly having to briefly slow to posted speed when we are cycling ahead of them in the same lane? Or when we (rightfully) take the lane out of safety concerns? How these drivers somehow believe we’re personally slighting them or feel fully justified into ‘brushing us back from the plate’ with their side mirrors against our elbows I’ll never know.

    We cycle because it’s fun, cheap, easier than driving, and quick. Because we can circumnavigate that which you can’t doesn’t give you license to terrorize. Your petty
    jealousy leads to the most dangerous kinds of road rage. Save that crap for other drivers where the worst you’re going to do is dent each others cars.

    • Ford4ever

      I have had just as many brain dead cycle jackasses pull crap that could get them killed and then get annoyed when I call them on it. I have had more than a few animated “discussions” with bicyclists on my way to work each morning.I once saw I bicyclist “key” a car in front of me on Don Mills Rd and the driver realized what had happened and chased the bike until right in front of the science centre. The bicyclist then pulled his bike in front of the car and the guy got out of the car and grabbed the bike; they started struggling so the driver let go of the bike, got back in the car and the bicyclist started off again. I then saw the car race up beside the bike and go hard in to the side of the bike, whereupon the cyclist literally flew through the air and hit a concrete pole and landed on the sidewalk. I did not see what started the confrontation but my sympathies were instinctively with the motorist. Even Rosie Dimanno, who writes for the pinko Toronto Star said that all bicyclists should be shot. If bikes know their place on the road, everything can go smoothly.

      • ExcessOfConstraint

        None of that actually happened, astroturfer.

  • Astin44

    Licensing is a shorthand for education. No driver with a license can claim ignorance of the law when they break it. Because they had to pass tests and show knowledge of that law to legally be allowed to drive.

    Countless cyclists have NO IDEA that they’re subject to the same laws as a car. Licensing would mean that cyclists would be educated.

    But that same result could be reached via other means – put cycling classes in grade school gym curriculum, and give the kids a certificate of completion at the end. Provide a pamphlet covering rules of the road whenever somebody buys a bike. Put the rules in an easy to read format up in every cycle shop/department in the city. Put them up at the bike share locations, and on the website when you sign up. Make it so the information is impossible to avoid if you’re a cyclist. It might not be as comprehensive, but it will improve the situation tremendously.

    Then enforce the laws. At least on the major roadways.

    I’m generally a pedestrian, and avoiding cyclists is a regular part of walking in this city. Does it occur to those defending cyclists as not killing that many people that maybe we pedestrians are the reason? That we’re constantly jumping out of the way, waiting for a cyclist to blow through a stop sign or crosswalk, or generally keeping an eye out for them because we know there are so many that are careless and clueless? Apparently I’m not allowed to punch them in the head when they break traffic laws and almost hit me. I hear it’s also illegal to push them off the sidewalk.

    The odd time I drive, I’m keeping an eye out for them too. Because I know they won’t pass on the left, but try and squeeze through between me and the curb. I know they won’t recognize my right of way if I’m ahead of them and turning right. And I can’t be sure they’ll stop at the 4-way stop or even the red light.

    A couple days ago I watched a cyclist blast across Dundas between intersections, in front of a moving streetcar, and narrowly missed being flung down the road by the car alongside the streetcar that he had no way of seeing. I’m sure that would have been the driver’s fault.

    Cycling is a key component of future transit in this city. I’d love the city to make meaningful changes to support cycling. But the flip side is that cyclists have to be responsible and obey the rules of the road themselves. Just because there are bad drivers doesn’t mean you get to be a bad cyclist.

    • tyrannosaurus_rek

      I don’t think motorists are aware of the rules/rights when it comes to cycling either. It would be worthwhile for everyone to be educated on the matter. But this isn’t a solution to the cycling infrastructure deficit; we still need lanes and signage, and better enforcement and protection for cyclists injured by motorists.

      I was recently in Berlin and Vienna and it was refreshing to see bike lanes integrated into the sidewalks, pedestrians aware of which lane was which (Berlin uses a different material, Vienna uses painted lines and markers), traffic lights and right-of-way for cyclists at intersections in Vienna, and all through the high-traffic areas downtown.

    • OgtheDim

      Although I agree that education is definitely needed, the assumption that license owners all know the rules because they pass a licensing system once in their lives is proven false every day.

  • Whaaa… ?

    “A Leger poll commissioned by insurance provider Kanetix”

    That’s all I needed to read to know the poll is made up BS. Clearly cyclist licensing is the first step to making cyclist insurance mandatory as well.

    I don’t believe for a second that a majority of Torontonians are in favour of bicycle licensing… especially once it hits home that they will have to pay for that license for themselves and their kids.

  • ginnee

    Too many sidewalk cyclists either don’t know the laws or will argue with the pedestrian that they’ve just hit that the laws are asinine and should be rewritten to allow them to speed and weave through walkers on sidewalks.
    It’s the worst where the old city borders the suburbs because the cars are going faster so cyclists in those areas get on the sidewalks. You don’t see as many sidewalk cyclists downtown as you do north of Eglinton, where the sidewalks are still narrow but the cars are often pushing 60KM.
    I’m very much for building more bike lanes but they have to be done in a way that the casual cyclists will use them. But we also need mandatory EDUCATION and police enforcement of violations.

    • Ford4ever

      I completely agree. Anyone with elderly family members who use the sidewalks can probably relate at least one account of a bicyclist endangering that senior’s safety by riding dangerously. God help cyclists if any member of my family is harmed by one of them. If you have ever scene Death Wish you know what I mean.

  • Christopher Paul Dart

    That is true. Try making a real, proper, left turn in this city as a cyclist. Drivers fucking panic. I’ve had people honk at me for being “in the wrong lane” while making a left.

    • Ford4ever

      You are in the wrong lane. A cyclist should cross a street from corner to corner as we were taught when first learning to ride a bike. Sitting in a left turn lane with a long line of cars and trucks behind you is dangerous to you and to them. It is not entirely your fault though, it is as much the fault of idiot municipal politicians who have encouraged bicyclists to adopt an attitude on the road. That attitude is what leads to verbal confrontations, vulgar gesticulations as well as actual physical violence. Bike lanes were a stupid idea because before these lanes gave bicyclists the idea that they are “equal” with motor vehicles, cyclists knew to stay to the right and they would be fine. Morons like Gord Perks, Joe Mihevc, Adam Vaughan and Christopher Hume should learn that if something is not broken you do not “fix” it.

      • ExcessOfConstraint

        “A cyclist should cross a street from corner to corner as we were taught when first learning to ride a bike”

        Wrong. Go away astroturfer.

  • http://www.metamorphostuff.com/ Ryan Day

    How would the cyclist being licensed affect that scenario?

  • Ford4ever

    I recently had an experience during which a belligerent and violent cyclist threw a rock at the window of a car in the lane beside and simply rode away. The car contained an elderly man and woman who were understandably shaken and frightened by this attack. Other than a very vague and generic description, I cannot assist the victims nor police in identifying the offender because the bicycle had no license number with which to make an identification. Moreover, I often witness cyclists completely disregard pedestrian crossing lights and continue through, narrowly missing pedestrians. I do not agree licensing will never happen,as never is a very long time. A number of U.S. cities have instituted licensing for a very modest fee in the range of $10 for 4 years. All road, not sidewalk, but road users must be responsible for using that space safely and the public needs a means by which those who flagrantly disregard the laws can be held to account.

    • ExcessOfConstraint

      Suuuuuure you did, astroturfer.

      You are lying.

    • ExcessOfConstraint

      That never happened.

      • http://www.thestar.com/news/insight/2014/05/09/rob_ford_one_wild_night_in_march.html Bumbaclot

        Would have been an even better story if the cyclist had thrown a latte at the car. And if the cyclist had a backpack full of library books, and was autistic.

  • Ford4ever

    Exactly right, as it is you are left with no access to justice and the irresponsible contingent within the cycling community could selfishly not care less.