Karen Stintz wants to crack down on bikes on sidewalks

Karen Stintz wants to crack down on bikes on sidewalks

We can’t imagine why Karen Stintz, who’s got work up to her eyeballs with the restructuring of the TTC under Rob Ford’s Transportation City plan, wants to pick another fight. But some councillors are able to multi-task better than us, we suppose. Stintz’s new project is to crack down on cyclists who ride their bikes on sidewalks. She’s requesting ideas on a new approach from police and civic staff.

According to the Toronto Sun:

The public needs to know that biking on the sidewalk is dangerous and illegal, Councillor Karen Stintz said as her request for civic staff and Toronto Police to come up with a new approach to the issue was approved at the city’s public works committee.

“Sidewalks are not the place for cyclists. Sidewalks are for pedestrians,” she said.

“If cyclists don’t feel safe on the streets, then we need to address that. But the way to address that is not to say ride on the sidewalks.”

Ah, debates about the proper place of cycling in Toronto! It’s like last year’s election all over again (anyone else remember “sheer madness”?). In this case, however, things are further complicated by the fact that there seems to be some debate among the Ford executive committee. For example, in fall 2009, Denzil Minnan-Wong suggested that in the emptier parts of the suburbs, cyclists should be able to ride on sidewalks because there are few to no pedestrians on the main arterials (thanks to Matt Elliot for the catch). Of course, not all suburban politicians are open to that idea. Biking west along the lake, cyclists will undoubtedly pass signs put up by the old Etobicoke council snarling “NO BIKE RIDING ON THE SIDEWALK.”

Maybe the disagreements are minor, though. The larger problems are that some of these regulations are mixed up with provincial law—for example, electric bikes are treated as bikes instead of motor vehicles—and the bylaws within Toronto are basically an enormous mess. Sorting all this out will take some time. We expect cyclists will still be able to enjoy one more summer of reckless abandon. Just, seriously, try not to hurt anyone.

• City seeks to curb bikes from sidewalks [Toronto Sun]
• Antiquated bike bylaws need updating: police [Toronto Star]
• Toronto cyclists get sidewalk warning [CBC News]