How to avoid a ticket while parking in a bike lane: loophole allows offenders to get off scot-free

Parking enforcement estimates that 66-75% of all parking violations go unticketed

Cycle Toronto has worked with Toronto Police Services on their enforcement of motor vehicles  parked in bike lanes and cycle tracks for the past several years. From May 26 to June 2, 2014 during Bike Month, 51 & 52 Divisions did a ticket blitz and tagged over 100 offenders parked in bike lanes and 38 violators parked in cycle tracks. For every ticket they gave out however, there were two to three vehicles that moved before a ticket could be delivered.

How is this possible? A big issue for parking enforcement officers is that they have to physically deliver the ticket to be considered legally binding. A ticket can take 30-45 seconds to input and deliver. This provides ample time to  drive off as the parking enforcement officer is preparing the ticket, which renders it undeliverable.

Bottom line: people  across Toronto can park in rush hour lanes, bike lanes and other no-stopping areas and escape the law by simply driving away upon seeing a parking enforcement officer. Parking on rush-hour routes contributes to congestion across Toronto. Vehicles parked in bike lanes endanger the safety of cyclists. This has to change.

Simple change from Province could solve the problem: parking enforcement officers should be able to mail tickets to offenders

Why do parking enforcement officers have to spend all that time physically delivering a ticket?

This provision is governed by Part II, Section 15, Sub-section 4 of the Provincial Offences Act, which states that an officer must physically affix the ticket to the motor vehicle.

If parking enforcement officers didn't have to physically deliver the ticket, but could instead snap a photo and mail it to the offender, Toronto Police Services could more effectively enforce the law.

“Cars stopping or parking in bike lanes and cycle tracks in Toronto is a daily occurrence,” said Jared Kolb, Executive Director of Cycle Toronto. “People  think ‘oh, I just need to stop for a minute to grab a coffee.’ Stopping  in bike lanes forces people riding bicycles to make dangerous swerves into adjacent lanes. The Province must change to Provincial Offences Act to close this loophole.”

Changes to the Provincial Offences Act would have to be made by the Attorney General of Ontario, Madeleine Meilleur. In February 2015, Toronto City Council formally requested the change from the Province. Cycle Toronto has reached out several times but heard nothing back. Offenders should not be allowed to get away scot-free: we’re calling on the Attorney General of Ontario to make the change immediately.


Cycle Toronto is a member-supported cycling advocacy organization with more than 3,000 members in Toronto.

Media Contact:
Jared Kolb, Executive Director

By Jared Kolb on Dec 02, 2015