DISCOVER POLICING FROM A BIKE PATROL OFFICER’S PERSPECTIVE
It’s a sign of summer when the North Bay Police Service’s bicycle patrol officers are back on the streets, paths and trails of North Bay and Callander. Designed to complement the existing police patrols of both communities, the unit gives the public greater access to police officers and vice versa.
As the North Bay Police Service joins police services across the province to celebrate Police Week this week, and in keeping with this year’s theme Discover Policing for Safer Communities, we invited the media to interview bicycle patrol officer Cst. John Cook at 1 p.m. on Wednesday May 18th, on Main Street at Ferguson Street.
Clad in a high-visability yellow shirt, black athletic pants or shorts (with reflective striping for added visibility) and a bicycle helmet (of course!), Cst. Cook will patrol the downtown core, the waterfront, bicycle paths, and other public areas, as well as more secluded areas such as trails and alleyways until August 31st. The public will also see the North Bay Police Service’s bicycle patrol officers at community events.
As well as patrolling designated areas, bicycle patrol officers are responsible for:
- enforcing City of North Bay by-laws;
- enforcing Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act;
- investigating suspected municipal and provincial infractions as well as Criminal Code of Canada and Controlled Drug and Substance Act occurrences;
- identifying community safety concerns;
- responding to public complaints in the downtown area and the waterfront; and
- educating the public on safe cycling practices.
Cyclists are reminded to wear proper helmets, to have a bell or a horn on their bike, to signal when turning or stopping and to ride on the road in the same direction as vehicles. To ensure safe riding after sunset, cyclists should wear reflective clothing and must have a light on their bike.
Under Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act, a bicycle is a vehicle.
This means that, as a cyclist, you have the same responsibilities as a motorist to obey all traffic laws. Cyclists can be charged the same fine as a driver for failing to stop for red lights and stop signs, for driving down the wrong way of one-way streets, for failing to signal and for failing to yield for pedestrians.
Other fines under Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act related to bicycles:
1. Section 104 (2.1) Fail to wear proper helmet on bicycle. Fine: $80*
By law, every cyclist must wear an approved helmet, if they are under 18 years old.
2. Section 104 (2.2) Permit person under 16 not wearing proper helmet on bicycle. Fine: $80*
For riders under 16 years old, a parent or guardian must make sure their child/children wear helmets.
3. Section 75 (5) No horn or defective horn on a bicycle. Fine: $110*
A bike must have a bell or horn in good working order.
4. Section 64 (3) Improper brakes on bicycle. Fine: $110*
A bike must have at least one brake system on the rear wheel. When you put on the brakes, you should be able to skid on dry, level pavement.
5. Section 178 (2) – Ride 2 on a bicycle. Fine: $110*
Passengers are not allowed on a bicycle designed for one person.
6. Section 144 (29) – Cyclist – ride in or along crosswalk. Fine: $110*
Walk your bike when crossing at a crosswalk.
7. Section 62 (17) – Improper bicycle lighting. Fine: $110*
A bike must have a white front light and a red rear light or reflector if you ride between 1/2 hour before sunset and 1/2 hour after sunrise and white reflective tape on the front forks and red reflective tape on rear forks.
Fines under the City of North Bay’s Traffic and Parking By-Law (2002-01)
Section 5 (2) – Ride bicycle upon sidewalk. Fine: $60
Motorists are reminded of Bill 31- Transportation Statute Law Amendment Act (Making Ontario’s Roads Safer), which came in effect on September 1st, 2015:
- All drivers of motor vehicles are required to maintain a minimum distance of one metre, where practical, when passing cyclists;
- Persons who improperly open or leave opened the doors of motor vehicles into passing cyclists and traffic (commonly known as “dooring”) face increased penalties (now $365* plus 3 demerit points).