Heftier fines will deter cyclists, Outaouais advocate says

Heftier fines for cyclists caught breaking road rules in Quebec will deter some people from biking altogether, the president of an Outaouais cycling group argues.

Changes to Quebec Highway Safety Code could see some fines increased by 443%

Daniel Varin, president of Action vélo Outaouais, said the much heavier fines might prompt some people to stop biking, and stop others from taking it up at all. (Hallie Cotnam/CBC)

Heftier fines for cyclists caught breaking road rules in Quebec will deter some people from biking altogether, the president of an Outaouais cycling group argues.

Under Bill 165, fines for cyclists caught without reflectors or running red lights would start at $80, up from the current $15 minimum.

"When we first read that ... we were in complete disbelief that they actually increased those fines that much. We expected some kind of increase but this just seems out of this world," said Daniel Varin, president of Action vélo Outaouais, in an interview with CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning Thursday.

The bill, which also aims to crack down on dangerous driving, was tabled at Quebec's National Assembly in December and is expected to be debated soon.

Low-income cyclists

People with low incomes might choose to stop cycling, or never take it up in the first place, Varin said.

"We believe that having such a huge fine might be a deterrent for some people, some cyclists that it's their only means of transportation and they don't have a lot of money," he said.

"There'll be some people not wanting to bike anymore, and some people will just bite the bullet and go get [their bikes legal]."

CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning