If you ride a bike, you might want to wear a helmet. It’s not only the safe thing to do; it could keep you from getting a $29 ticket from the Vancouver Police Department.
Officers handed out at least 156 tickets to cyclists in the first three months of the year, and 139 of those for were riding without a helmet.
Police are on track to double those totals in April, May, and June, with at least 294 tickets—266 of those for “no helmet” offences—so far, and June isn’t over yet.
Const. Brian Montague, a spokesperson for the VPD, told the Georgia Straight that police aren’t targeting cycling violations with a ticketing blitz.
“I think it’s pretty safe to say that, as the weather improves, you get more cyclists out there and you’re just going to see more tickets,” Montague said by phone.
According to Montague, in most cases, these tickets were issued by officers who observed cyclists committing offences during the course of their regular patrol duties. He noted that officers have the discretion to hand out a ticket or just a warning.
“We want to make sure that, if someone does get in a collision, that the potential for injury is reduced,” said Montague, who added that tickets are issued to “change behaviour”.
VPD statistics provided to the Straight show that, so far in 2014, the department has issued a total of 454 tickets for “cycling-specific” violations of the Motor Vehicle Act. Of those, 405 tickets were for “not properly wearing a bicycle safety helmet”.
Twenty-eight tickets were for riding on the sidewalk. Officers also issued $109 tickets to cyclists riding in crosswalks, without headlights at night, and “without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other persons”, and those committing other offences.