Why did Montreal hand out 42 times more cycling tickets than Toronto?

If Montreal cyclists feel they're being watched closely by police, they might be right. Last year, cyclists were handed 12,285 tickets in Montreal, compared with 292 in Toronto.

SPVM says increase in tickets is part of an attempt to make the roads safer

A cyclist is seen navigating de Maisonneuve Boulevard earlier this year in Montreal. Police handed out more than 12,000 tickets to cyclists in 2018. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada)

If Montreal cyclists feel they're being watched closely by police, they might be right.

Last year, cyclists were ticketed about 42 times more often than cyclists in Toronto.

In 2018, the SPVM handed out 12,285 tickets for bike infractions, ranging from not having proper reflectors to burning through stop signs or red lights or wearing headphones.

Police in Toronto, meanwhile, handed out 292 tickets last year.

While part of the disparity can be chalked up to the fact that there are more cyclists in Montreal than Toronto, it doesn't fully explain the difference.

Suzanne Lareau, president of Vélo Québec, said police should be more lenient when it comes to some road rules, especially stop signs.

Lareau says cyclists should be allowed to yield instead of coming to a complete stop.

"When you do a stop, it's very hard to to go after a stop [on a bike]. And I think we have just to consider a stop different for a driver than for a cyclist," she said on CBC Montreal's Daybreak.

Lareau said police safety campaigns should focus on the more dangerous activities, such as running red lights. 

SPVM Insp. André Durocher said the higher number of tickets handed out to cyclists in recent years is part of an attempt to make sure they are safe on the roads.

"In Montreal, what we've done in the last couple of years is really put the emphasis on road safety, and when you look at the annual reports year after year you can see that the results pay off," he said.

In an email, the SPVM noted that so far this year there hasn't been a cycling death in Montreal. In 2018 there were three, compared with four a year earlier. 

With files from Jay Turnbull and CBC Montreal's Daybreak


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.