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.