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Can Bicycle Traffic Infractions Affect Your Driver’s Licence and Car Insurance?

June 1, 2021
4 mins
A close-up of someone with their hands on the handlebars of a bike

Bicyclists rejoice! June is Bike Month in Toronto. With the sun shining and the world beneath your two-wheeler, it’s the perfect time of year to get out and ride. Best of all, people of all ages can ride a bike without worrying about licence plates, registration, having a driver’s licence, or car insurance.

That said, many motorists are also avid cyclists. But riding a bike instead of driving a car doesn’t mean you can flout the rules of the road. While it’s unlikely you’ll get in trouble for popping a wheelie on a bike so long as you don’t hurt anyone or do it in traffic, according to Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act, bicycles are vehicles and cyclists are subject to the same rules and fines drivers are for infractions.

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As a cyclist, you must share the road with other vehicles and obey all traffic laws. Of note, the sections of the Act that apply directly to cyclists include:

  • Stop signs – failing to stop at a stop sign is an $85 fine.
  • Traffic signals – failing to stop at a red light is an $85 fine or a $120 fine in designated community safety zones.
  • Slow moving traffic – any vehicle (including bikes) moving slower than the flow of traffic must use the right lane except when turning left or passing another vehicle. If you don’t, it’s an $85 fine.
  • Signalling a turn – failing to signal before turning left or right is an $85 fine.
  • Crosswalks – failing to yield or stop for pedestrians at a crosswalk is an $85 fine.
  • Riding in a crosswalk – walk your bike when crossing at a crosswalk or it’s an $85 fine.
  • Streetcars – failing to stop two metres behind a streetcar’s doors and waiting for passengers to board or reach the curb is an $85 fine.
  • Stopped school buses – failing to stop for a school bus with flashing red lights is a $400 fine.
  • Adequate lights – a bike must have a white front light and rear red light or reflectors or it’s an $85 fine.
  • Bells and horns – a bike must be equipped with a working bell or horn, or you could get an $85 fine.
  • Brakes – A bike must have at least one brake system on the rear wheel or it’s an $85 fine.
  • Identification – all cyclists must stop and identify themselves to a police officer when required or it’s an $85 fine.
  • Passengers – riding double on a bike built for one person is an $85 fine.
  • Attaching to a vehicle – it’s illegal to attach to or hold onto a vehicle while riding a bike. If you do, it’s an $85 fine.
  • Helmets – all cyclists under the age of 18 must wear an approved bicycle helmet or it’s a $60 fine.
  • Dismounted bicyclist – if you’re walking your bike, you’re considered a pedestrian, and must walk on the left-hand side of the road facing traffic if there’s no sidewalk, or on the right-hand side of the road if it’s unsafe to cross the road to face traffic. If you’re walking your bike while on the road, it’s a $35 fine.
  • Expressways -- Cyclists are prohibited from riding expressways or highways such as the 400 series, the Queen Elizabeth Way, the Ottawa Queensway and other roads with ‘no bicycles’ signs posted or it’s an $85 fine.

Moreover, your municipality may have bicycling-related bylaws all cyclists are required to follow. For example, in Toronto it’s illegal for anyone 14 or older to ride a bike on a sidewalk (a $60 fine).

How do traffic violations on a bike affect your licence and insurance?

If you’re convicted of any of the above infractions, there should be no demerit points added to your driver’s licence. The key is to ensure the police officer who issues you the ticket states clearly on it that your fine is a cycling infraction, not a motor vehicle infraction.

A cycling infraction also has no impact on your car insurance premium either since, if you’re convicted or plead guilty to the charge, it won’t be added to your driving record.

Liam Lahey

Liam Lahey is a versatile marketer with experience as a staff and freelance writer for many business and technology publications and newspapers. He previously worked as the editor and media spokesperson for RATESDOTCA, handling home, auto, and travel insurance topics.

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