No crackdown on cyclists, Vancouver police claim

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      The police officer who oversees the ticketing of motor vehicles in the city has refuted claims that the Vancouver Police Department is targeting cyclists.

      “I have been in the traffic section for about two and a half years now, and if you look at our tickets, I’m not sure that you can say that we’ve been cracking down on cyclists,” Insp. Ted Schinbein told the Straight by phone. “As a matter of fact, some of our numbers have actually decreased.”

      According to Schinbein, police issued 3,461 tickets in 2008 to cyclists not wearing helmets, and 3,324 in 2009.

      “We have always been concerned about cyclists,” Schinbein said. “They are vulnerable road users, as are pedestrians and as are motorcyclists.”

      Last week, the Straight reported that cyclist Randi Gurholt-Seary planned to fight a $167 ticket police issued her on June 16 because she failed to come to a complete stop at a stop sign at Nanaimo and Adanac streets.

      “My experience with them at that time was that they were out to punish the cyclists to make an example and to hit them hard,” Gurholt-Seary told the Straight at the time.

      Rob Wynen, vice chair of the city’s bicycle advisory committee, then told the Straight that he received several e-mails in the middle of the month from cyclists who had been ticketed at the intersection of Main Street and East 10th Avenue and other locations.

      On the matter of rolling stops, Schinbein said, “The issue it becomes is that there is a law there. Whether you like the law or not, or whether you disagree with the law or not, it’s the law. The officers have the ability to enforce the law.”

      Schinbein said there are “ways to lobby governments” for changes to the Motor Vehicle Act.

      That’s something Vision Vancouver councillor Geoff Meggs has looked into.

      On June 22, Meggs introduced a motion, which passed unanimously, calling for a review of the Motor Vehicle Act.

      “I’m not sure how well it can be tweaked,” Meggs told the Straight that day. “It’s early days, but at least we should talk about it. My proposal was that there should be a lot more consistent application if possible across municipalities of signage and bike routes and that sort of thing.”

      Schinbein said that, back in 1991, he was one of the first eight bike cops in the city.

      “And I didn’t have any issue stopping at a stop sign and starting again,” he added.

      Comments

      32 Comments

      NDB

      Jul 2, 2010 at 4:56pm

      too bad...they should be cracking down on cyclists. IMO in order to ride a bike downtown you should be subjected to passing a test, getting a license and insurance.

      AWP

      Jul 2, 2010 at 5:43pm

      Hey I got a ticket for a rolling stop at an intersection. Didn't like it but I deserved it. What makes the cyclists any different?

      asp

      Jul 2, 2010 at 6:13pm

      Car drivers rarely stop completely at stop signs, especially when there is a pedestrian signal not showing the hand. Many think the stop sign does not apply when the walk signal is lit.

      Can someone ask Schinbein how many tickets have been handed out for this infraction, with a breakdown on the numbers given to cyclists vs car drivers?

      taxpayer

      Jul 2, 2010 at 7:02pm

      Motorists and cyclists should be concerned about these tickets. The job of the police is to ensure public safety. The tickets that people are concerned about have nothing to do with improving public safety. Specifically, when a pedestrian walk light is on, traffic is stopped on the main street. There is a stop sign on the side street but motorists and cyclists don't stop for the stop sign because the traffic is stopped on the main street and pedestrians are required to stop as well. There is very little risk to anyone of cyclists or motorists not stopping at this stop sign. It is a complete waste of police resources to give out these tickets.

      Instead, they should be cracking down on the dangerous driving that kills 30 pedestrians a year in Metro Vancouver.

      rob_

      Jul 2, 2010 at 8:54pm

      The idea that they have to do this because "it is the law" is completely disingenuous. The VPD picks and chooses which laws to enforce all the time.

      They never charge anyone in Vancouver for possession if they light up a joint. They choose to not enforce this law because they recognize that those disobeying the law pose little harm to society.

      They should use the same approach to traffic enforcement. They should be ticketing both cyclists and motorists for truly dangerous infractions. Wasting resources on cyclists doing rolling stops when the opposing traffic has a solid red light makes no sense at all from a harm reduction standpoint.

      Ott

      Jul 2, 2010 at 9:42pm

      It's too bad this type of effort and money isn't spent on useful endeavours to make our streets truly safer.

      As for NDB, and your suggestion to force cyclists to be licensed and insured, what a ridiculous suggestion. Let's discourage people from opting for a greener, sustainable, more healthy form of transport. Let's force joggers, and pedestrians, and swimmers, and bus riders to get licensed and insured as well.

      nachum

      Jul 2, 2010 at 10:19pm

      It would be funny, if it were not so sad, how stupid the Vancouver Police come across on this issue.

      soundspeed

      Jul 2, 2010 at 10:29pm

      The officer probably just had to hand out whatever ticket he could to meet his quota that day.

      Sara Jennings

      Jul 2, 2010 at 10:55pm

      Cyclists are often more unsafe when starting from a full stop. Many cyclists wobble when starting from a stop (especially inexperienced ones). Plus it takes longer for cyclists to reach full speed again and move through the intersection (the most dangerous space for cyclists). This means they are in the intersection moving at a very slow pace, putting them in danger longer. Thus, the stop laws elsewhere, where a cyclists can treat stops as yields is most often the safest choice for a cyclists. Laws made to keep vehicles safest, do not always make sense for bikes.

      13 8Rating: +5

      NDB

      Jul 2, 2010 at 11:29pm

      Considering Gordon Campbell is a convicted drunk driver do you think her would have been able to stop on a bike or driving a car? Would you trust your child crossing the road in front of him?