Back lights bicycle on street background

An update to Quebec’s Highway Safety Code has seen increased fines for cyclists who break the rules. Under Bill 165, the fines for cyclists caught without reflectors start at $80 and can go up to $100. It represents a five-fold increase from the previous minimum of $15. The change also affected fines for running stop signs and lights.

Under the Highway Safety Code, it is mandatory for a cyclist to have six reflectors on their bike. The law states all bikes must be outfitted with a front white reflector, a red rear reflector, a visibility accessory on the front wheel and rear wheel or reflectors on both sides of the fork and seat stays, and an Amber or white reflector on each pedal.

With the new fines in effect, police are issuing tickets that to many seem a little steep. One cyclist in Montreal was fined $381 last-week for having improper reflectors on his bike as first reported by CBC.

Jabez Adasz had reflectors on his pedals and fork, and his bike was additionally equipped with a flashing light on the back. However, upon being stopped by police he was ticketed for not having front and rear reflectors equipped. The fines added up. Adasz received tickets two fines for not having the proper reflectors and an additional fine for his brakes which did not work properly. Adasz intends to dispute the ticket.

“That’s ridiculous,” he told CBC. “I think it’s an abuse of power.”

Likewise, Vélo Québec president and CEO Suzanne Lareau says the organization is opposed to the new ticketing.

“This is abuse,” Lareau said. “Bikes need six reflectors. Are we going to give six tickets to someone who doesn’t have reflectors on his bike when he’s cycling in broad daylight?

“Whether you’re running a red light on a bike or missing a reflector in broad daylight, it’s the same price: $127. We find it totally abusive,” Lareau explained.

The new fines didn’t just affect cyclist. Bill 165 introduced stiffer penalties for distracted drivers specifically targeting those caught using cell phones.

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  • Alan Scott says:

    I would like you to address cyclist behaviour at stop signs. Amongst cyclists, it is an accepted practice to roll-through stop signs. While cyclists recognise the dangers of crossing an intersection or joining a primary road, practically all slow but proceed without stopping when considered safe to do so. The practice of roll-through is particularly common in group rides where the leading cyclists provide safety assurance to their followers by declaring :Clear” and encourage the following cyclists to proceed without stopping.
    On the other hand, the law clearly states that cyclists must obey the same rules of the road that apply to motorists. Further more, there appears to be considerable anger amongst drivers when they witness cyclists adopting the practice of a roll-through. I have heard many motorists state that if cyclists do not respect the rules of the road, then they should not expect to be treated as vehicles on the road and should vacate the road when motorised vehicles approach.
    This is a national issue that needs to be discussed and determined once and for all.

    • Nullifidian says:

      There’s nothing wrong with a cyclist rolling through, provided they check that it’s safe. It’s known as the Utah Stop, (hopefully coming to a Province near you). Motorists usually do it, anyways. It saves on gas, and means a little less asbestos released from the brakes. Both of these help the environment.

  • nealeadams says:

    How about applying common sense to the law? Cyclists should slow and look both ways at stop signs (which I do)–and be able to stop immediately–but coming to an absolute standstill and having to put a foot down and then slowly start up again, would decrease safety, not increase it. It would also delay motorists behind them. Motorists who insist of a standstill stop are just anti-cyclist, and want them off the road so they don’t have to pay attention to them and (egads) maybe have to slow down a bit instead of zooming along on residential streets.

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