Cyclists who have been ticketed by Ontario police were in for a rude awakening when they later found out that their offenses translated into demerit points on their driving records.
Isaac Tsorlinis was pulled over last summer near Toronto’s Greektown and was ticketed. Instead of challenging the charge in court, he pleaded guilty and paid the $350 fine.
Learn more about bike insurance here.
A few weeks ago, he received a letter from the Ontario Ministry of Transportation notifying him that he was being assessed three demerit points for driving through a stop sign, despite his offense being bicycle-related.
“When Isaac went to court services and said, ‘Will there be any demerit points taken off for this infraction?’ [the official] said, ‘Absolutely not,’” recounted Vicky Tsorlinis, Isaac’s mother.
Another biker, 32-year-old Christopher Allen of Toronto, was also ticketed the same evening as Isaac, and also has demerit points registered against his driver’s license.
Demerit points could affect a driver’s status and insurance rating.
“The conviction can appear on your driving record, but should not carry any demerit points,” explained Toronto Police Traffic Services Const. Clint Stibbe.
Although cyclists do not need a license to go biking, those that are pulled over are required by law to identify themselves; those who fail to cooperate are detained.
Want the latest insurance industry news first? Sign up for our completely free newsletter service now.
“You’re obliged to give your information or you may be subject to arrest for obstructing police,” former criminal defense lawyer Paul Copeland told Globalnews.ca.
Such information, as well as any offenses, is kept track of by the Ministry of Transportation, Stibbe said.
“Once we write the ticket, the Ministry of Transportation transposes that information off the ticket into their systems. When that occurs, a driver’s licence number is generated if the person does not have a licence. So even if they’ve never applied for one, it’s used as a tracking number for any offences that person may commit,” he elaborated.
Drivers ignoring closed road signs are dangerous to everyone: OPP
Over 300 crashes reported as GTA faces 15cm snow