Is It True That a Bicyclist Can Get Charged For Biking With Inadequate Brakes?

A Bicyclist Can Be Charged Under the Highway Traffic Act, Just Like An Automobile Driver, For Many Possible Violations Including Operating a Bicycle Without a Proper Braking System.

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Understanding the Legal Requirements For Bicycle Braking

Man Riding Bicycle Many bicyclists may be surprised to learn that many traffic laws apply specific to bicyclists; including, among others, the requirement that a bicycle have a braking system capable of making the rear tire skid on dry, level, and clean pavement.  If charged convicted, a bicyclist will have the charge applied to the driving record (Motor Vehicle Report) of the bicyclist.

The Law

The requirement that a bicycle must have a braking system capable of leaving a skid mark is prescribed per section 64(3) of the Highway Traffic Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8.  The applicable penalty upon conviction for a violation is found at section 214(1) of the Highway Traffic Act as section 64(3) is silent about, meaning failing to state, the penalty details.  Specifically, section 64(3) and section 214(1) of the Highway Traffic Act state:

Brakes on bicycle

64 (3) No person shall ride a bicycle on a highway unless it is equipped with at least one brake system acting on the rear wheel that will enable the rider to make the braked wheel skid on dry, level and clean pavement.

General penalty

214 (1) Every person who contravenes this Act or any regulation is guilty of an offence and on conviction, where a penalty for the contravention is not otherwise provided for herein, is liable to a fine of not less than $60 and not more than $1,000.

Accordingly, per the general penalty stated within section 214(1) as is shown above, the fine for operating a bicycle without a brake capable of causing the rear tire to skid on dry, level, and clean, pavement is in a range from sixty ($60) dollars to one thousand ($1,000) dollars.  Additional penalties will include the statutory victim surcharge plus court cost.  Furthermore, although such a charge involves operation of a bicycle, upon a conviction the bicyclist will have the conviction regarded as a driving offence which may result in consequences to automobile insurance rates.

Summary Comment

Operating a bicycle without a proper braking mechanism is risky to the bicyclist and others; and accordingly, the law forbids doing so and imposes a fine of up to one thousand ($1,000) dollars upon a finding of guilty when a bicyclist is charged and convicted.

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