Vancouver cyclists rack up hundreds of tickets for not wearing helmets

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      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.

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      Jun 18, 2014 at 12:35pm

      I think this is great. As a taxpayer I don't want to pay for easily preventable injuries. Now if we can just ticket bike riders who don't stop at stop signs/stop lights, ride on the sidewalk, speed, ride the wrong way then we'll be much better. Put license plates on bikes so the police can more easily ticket too!


      Jun 18, 2014 at 1:10pm

      Bikes need to have an identification of some kind
      As is bike riders have total impunity.
      Last winter at about 7:30 am I found a lady on the ground in a big deal if pain , here in Gastown , she asked me to call
      ambulance because she couldn't move I did, and kept her company till medical help arrived, it comes out a guy riding his bike on the side walk knocked her to the ground and took off living her there . Months after I met this lady , she lives nearby, she told me her arm and collar bone were broken as a result of this person riding his bike on the side walk.
      It is unacceptable we payed millions for bike lanes and still some people riding bikes wherever they want, because they know there is not accountability .Like in the Wild West .
      I have a dog and pay to the city every year to have her license .
      License bikes too even if is for free , let them be accountable instead if annonymous.

      no helmet

      Jun 18, 2014 at 2:23pm

      Been riding a bike for 50 years no helmet. I'm not about to start, the nanny state needs to stay out of the citizens lives. Whats next helmets while you jog or while you sleep, just in case you sleep walk?

      martin kent

      Jun 18, 2014 at 2:38pm

      Law abiding bicyclist wear helmets. The rest are lawless.

      The spokesman

      Jun 18, 2014 at 4:44pm

      So, to the VPD, it is most important, and far more important than all other traffic code obligations combined, to wear a helmet to reduce injuries.
      This runs counter to common sense which tells us to prevent injuries, it is better to avoid a collision altogether than have one while wearing a helmet.
      The VPD will turn a blind eye to riding at night with no lights, running through red lights at intersections, and even riding on the wrong side of the road, but ride without a helmet and not only is a ticket issued, the cyclist is forced off the bicycle which is the greatest tragedy of all because it's been proven numerous times that people who ride bikes live longer and healthier lives than that of the general population, even they aren't wearing helmets.
      The police are stopping people from doing what is good for them (and the rest of society as well)


      Jun 18, 2014 at 4:47pm

      Since the statistics clearly indicate that the rate of head injury per kilometre travelled is no higher for cycling than for driving or walking, I demand that drivers and pedestrians be legally required to wear helmets. This is clearly the fair and sensible course of action, instead of investing in infrastructure to keep people safe in their necessary movement around the city.


      Jun 18, 2014 at 4:51pm

      But the law needs to be enforced to everyone including those who wear turbans.


      Jun 18, 2014 at 4:55pm

      Beatriz, Excellent, and martin kent: Cyclists do not obey all laws to the letter because the laws are not sensitive or proportional to the actual danger: which is motor vehicle traffic--most especially distracted drivers, which is perhaps why ONE cyclist--who certainly does not represent ALL cyclists--in that case rode on the sidewalk with unfortunate consequences. But really, Gastown: How do you know he wasn't high etc etc? Law abiding motorists drive not one iota over the speed limit. Ever. The rest should have their licenses taken away. So yes, cops sitting on bike routes ticketing helmetless riders is completely ridiculous if they think they are encouraging safe behaviour. All they're doing is pissing people off who are safe--I.E. THEY'RE ON A BIKE.


      Jun 18, 2014 at 5:04pm

      What the VPD really needs to focus on is stopping illegal right on reds along the bike routes. Hornby and Georgia and Burrard at Cornwall would be good starts. While many drivers are doing fine there are a few that are not obeying the lights. Enough to be dangerous. There are even drivers that are passing cars that are waiting as required then making illegal rights from the centre lane. Very dangerous. These guys should lose their licences.

      Get off the sidewalk!

      Jun 18, 2014 at 5:29pm

      I would rather see police giving tickets for sidewalk riding, along with changes in the bylaw that would allow bikes to be seized when caught riding on the sidewalk. I don't care about helmet laws, the arguments about "paying for injuries" are ridiculous: we get subsidized healthcare and don't get to complain about what folly puts an individual there. If a cyclist injures him/herself because of a choice so be it. What is absurd is the number of people who believe that riding on the sidewalk is reasonable, particularly when a bike lane or route is nearby. Stop riding on the sidewalk, call out fellow riders and show some responsibility for community behaviour. I have been hit by more cyclists on the sidewalk than cars on the road, the funny thing is only 1 of 4 cyclists apologies and 2 saw fit to launch a tirade and/or make a range of hand gestures.

      ride without a helmet, that law is nanny state garbage
      do not ride on the sidewalk, that is self-centred disregard for those on two feet