Police defend uneven ticketing of cyclists across city
Published Monday, April 1, 2019 6:14PM MDT
Last Updated Monday, April 1, 2019 6:36PM MDT
Data from city police suggests cyclists are more likely to get a ticket for riding on the sidewalk in Edmonton’s less affluent neighbourhoods.
Between 2014 and the end of 2018, Edmonton Police Service handed out 1,600 tickets to riders for taking their bikes off city streets and onto sidewalks.
The violations appear concentrated in areas like Stony Plain Road and Alberta Avenue. Almost exactly 600 tickets were issued in the latter neighbourhood and communities that immediately surround it.
Another 233 were filed downtown.
Meanwhile, Ritchie and Rossdale saw less than 10 each.
A cyclist who’s counted more than 200 kilometres this week admits he’s likely to receive more tickets than those who prefer to drive.
“I'm guilty of it from time to time, but I mean, nobody's perfect,” admitted Shayne Stonehocker.
Stonehocker told CTV News he breaks the rules for safety reasons or when roads aren’t bike-friendly.
“They trick you downtown, because they'll give you a bike lane for you know eight blocks, and then it will end. It doesn't tell you where to go,” he said.
However, EPS said beat officers are only going where the people are.
“The areas are not being targeted,” a statement by Staff Sgt. Mark Fay reads. “It’s just due to population density and crowding on the sidewalks, which increases the safety concern.”
Police said Whyte Avenue was an example of more people meaning more violations.
In Strathcona, which saw 91 tickets issued since 2014, many bike lanes are new.
Ward 4 Councillor Aaron Paquette said the data could suggest the city needs to look further into the infrastructure that is available.
“If we have a concentration where people are getting tickets, that sort of gives us an indication that there might be actually demand there, we should probably take a look at that.”
Police can use discretion to either issue tickets or a warning. Fines are $100.
With files from Jeremy Thompson