Toronto Bicycle Bylaw, Riding on the Sidewalk

Bicycle riding prohibited in certain parks in Toronto. The bylaw 319-69 was repealed in 1997.

Bicycle riding prohibited in certain parks in Toronto. The bylaw 319-69 was repealed in 1997.

Sometimes finding certain information on the internet is much more difficult than it should be. I was looking for the City of Toronto, Ontario, Canada bylaw that allows bicycles with less than 24″ tires to ride on the sidewalk. I could not find it. I emailed the city clerk about the bylaw but got no response. This bylaw is heavily mentioned but almost never referenced. After about two years of searching the web, I finally found it.

Even the City of Toronto alludes to this bylaw but does not state its source. I wonder if the the legal interpretation of this bylaw is enforceable, as it is not mentioned in the actual bylaw. Would it hurt the city to reference its actual bylaw? For the record there are other fines for bicycle related infractions.

A City bylaw allows cyclists with a tire size of 61cm or 24 inches or less to ride on the sidewalk… The bylaw is based on wheel size because it is difficult for Police to enforce age-based bylaws, as most children do not carry identification. This is a municipal bylaw and rules vary in communities across Ontario.

The Toronto bylaw states that riding a bicycle with tire size over 61cm (24 inches) on sidewalks is prohibited, as is riding/operating a bicycle (or roller skates, in-line skates, skateboard, coaster, toy vehicle) on a sidewalk without due care and attention and reasonable consideration for others. The fine in downtown Toronto for not following this bylaw is $90 and aggressive cyclists can also be charged with careless driving.

Here is the actual City of Toronto Bylaw 313-27 as it pertains to riding a bicycle on the sidewalk:

ARTICLE IV: Sidewalk Regulations
§ 313-27. Horses and vehicles; Toronto Island.

A. No person shall ride, drive, lead or back any horse, carriage, cart, wagon, sled, sleigh or any vehicle over or along any paved or planked sidewalk, except at a regular crossing.

B. Except where permitted under Chapter 194, § 194-5, no person shall place on or use, draw, haul or propel along or upon any sidewalk any carriage, tricycle, bicycle, wagon, cart, hand-cart, hose, hose-cart, truck or any hand-wagon, sled, sleigh or other vehicle used for the conveyance of any person, article or property upon any sidewalk, except persons lawfully repairing the sidewalk. [Amended 1995-03-27 by By-law No. 1995-0249]

C. Subsections A and B do not apply to baby carriages, baby sleighs, children’s carts, wagons or tricycles operated by muscular power, or to shopping carts or wheelchairs, or to bicycles having each tire with a tire size no more than sixty-one (61) centimetres.

D. Pedestrians shall have the right-of-way on a sidewalk, and no person shall ride upon or operate a bicycle permitted under Subsection C, roller skates, in-line skates, skateboard, coaster, toy vehicle or similar device on a sidewalk without due care and attention and without reasonable consideration for others using the sidewalk. [Added 1995-03-31 by By-law No. 1995-0263; amended 1995-06-26 by By-law No. 1995-0445]

Due to inconsistencies in City of Toronto bylaws, fines are different for different parts of the city. The $90 fine in the City of Toronto is only $3.75 in North York and Scarborough.

<Here in Scarborough riding on the road is dangerous. People drive fast, most often over the speed limit. The skill level of car drivers is quite low. Even in supposed bicycle lanes cars invariably park there, forcing bicycle riders out into traffic. Having bicycle riders hit by open car doors is unsafe for riders. After multiple very close calls where I could have gotten seriously injured, I must question the safety of this bylaw in my suburb.

Note: There are signs in certain city of Toronto parks prohibiting bicycles. These state the bylaw number 319-69. This bylaw was repealed in 1997. Other incorrect bylaw numbers include 32/92.

June 22 2015 Update


§ 950 – 201. Regulations for bicycles and mopeds.
(1) For the purposes of § 950 201C(2), BICYCLE shall be defined as a bicycle or
tricycle where either has at least one tire that has a tire size of more than 24
inches, or the metric equivalent of 61.0 centimetres.
(2) No person shall ride a bicycle on a sidewalk of any highway, except for those
locations designated in § 886-6 of Chapter 886, Footpaths, Pedestrian Ways, Bicycle Paths and Bicycle Lanes.

So it seems like a two wheeled vehicle that has all tires that are 24″ or less is not considered a bicycle for the above section. Then later down in the document there is a broader definition:

§95-300. Pedestrians’ rights and duties.
F7. No person shall ride upon or operate a bicycle with a tire size less than or equal to 61.0 centimetres (24 inches), skateboard, in-line skates or roller-skates, coaster, scooter, toy vehicle, toboggan, sleigh, or any similar device on a sidewalk recklessly or negligently or at a speed or in a manner dangerous to the public, having regard to circumstances.

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