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Old 02-05-12, 10:29 AM   #1
hshearer
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How would you interpret these regulations... can a 20 km/h limit be enforced?

Here's the situation: this is a large parkland (NCC lands in Ottawa), roads running through it, with on-road bike paths, also off-road MUPs. On the MUPs, a 20 km/h speed limit is often posted. My question is, can that speed limit be enforced, according to the regulations below. "bicycle path" is not defined in the regulations, but seems to be distinct from "driveways". The speeding regulations only apply to driveways. Furthermore, there is no requirement that bicycles be equipped with a spedometer.

I ask because these are very useful commuter routes, often parallel to highways where bikes aren't allowed, also often straight and open. I'm not looking for a license to buzz pedestrians or zoom around blind corners, just reassurance that I won't be ticketed for travelling to work at a practical speed.

Thanks for your input! Link to the full regulations, for anyone interested:
http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/r...44/page-1.html
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“vehicle” means a device in, or by means of, which a person or property is or may be transported upon a highway, except any such device used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks. (véhicule)

“driveway” means that part of the property of the Commission designed and intended for the use of vehicles; (promenade)


5. (1) No person shall operate a vehicle on a driveway at a rate of speed, in kilometres per hour, that is greater than the speed posted.

16. (1) No person shall ride a bicycle on property of the Commission other than a driveway or on a bicycle path set aside by the Commission for the purpose.

(2) No person shall ride a bicycle on a driveway abreast of another bicycle or vehicle.
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Old 02-05-12, 11:17 AM   #2
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It's probably less how you (or the court) interpret the reg and more how a law enforcement officer interprets it. Giving tickets is easy when your attitude is to let the justice system sort it out. I would expect, though, that few tickets would be issued for cyclists behaving prudently for the circumstances. 20Km/hr is probably too fast if there are pedestrians present.
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Old 02-05-12, 11:53 AM   #3
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Over the last couple of years(at least that is the time frame I recall), 15mph speed limit signs have popped up on all the local and regional MUPs. There was one collision two years ago on a local trail because someone was speeding on the trail not watching what they were doing. While seemingly unenforceable, the width of the MUP and it having two-way bike/ped traffic should help to enforce it.

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Old 02-06-12, 01:15 PM   #4
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Not sure about Canadian law, but in the US it would probably be wise to examine judicial decisions. Judges here, if so inspired, interpret the law, say, creatively. The spirit of the law in your case is don't go faster than the posted speed. So you have that working against you.

I usually don't encounter too many pedestrians at normal commuting times. So I go a comfortable pace. Find it hard to believe a cop would bust you if you're not being a nuisance. I'm curious what the consequence is for a ticket - presume it'd just be fine?

PS Admittedly it may be hard to find case law on speeding cyclists - that stuff doesn't usually get published here.
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Old 02-06-12, 01:37 PM   #5
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I don't see anything in the wording of the regulations that would make it unenforceable unless there is some other statute or constitutional issue that makes those regulations void. The lack of a speedometer on a bicycle is no defense - many jurisdictions allow operation of a car without a working speedometer (my friend's car passed state inspection and was never cited for lack of a speedometer), but the operator can still be cited for speeding. And the definition of "driveway" would appear to include any paths intended for bicycle use since it covers anything intended for use by vehicles and bicycles appear to be included under the definition of vehicle in your area.

Locally (currently in Calif.) there is some speed enforcement on off-road mountain bike trails by rangers using radar guns and I've also encountered a motorcycle officer with a radar gun on a paved 'Rails-to-Trails' path in town.

Whether there will be active enforcement of the posted speed in your area is another question. There's very little of that on the paved trails in our area. The one case mentioned above is the only one I've seen in 18 years here and it was near an elementary school so I suspect there had been some complaints by parents concerned about safety for kids walking or riding to school.

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Old 02-06-12, 02:04 PM   #6
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Can it be enforced? Sure. Will it? Probably not unless riders get stupid.
I had a near miss yesterday when a cyclist passed me on the right (he was in the pedestrian lane of the trail) rather than giving me a simple "on your left". So, riding quickly and without regard to others can cause some problems. Oh, the trail through downtown Dunedin, FL, is pretty congested and the ****** that passed me was down on the "tri-bars" and moving pretty quick. I'll admit I was just cruising but the pass on the right did startle me.
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Old 02-06-12, 05:57 PM   #7
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Yeah, that was pretty much my impression (sigh)... even though it isn't specifically defined, I suspect that a 'bicycle path' would be considered a type of driveway, and, therefore, that the posted 20km/h limit is enforceable. Please, I'd love to hear that I'm wrong!

The fine for speeding is up to a $500 ticket. I'll just have to cross my fingers that I won't attract a ticket as long as I only 'speed' when the coast is clear. There's no way I could bear to keep it under 20 km/h (12.5 mph) all the time!
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Old 02-06-12, 07:30 PM   #8
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If it's actually a trail in a park, then park rules will apply.
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Old 02-06-12, 08:40 PM   #9
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Are you fit enough to outrun a cop on a bike and are there enough constrictions on the trail to stop a police cruiser? If so then give 'er.

Just kidding. I suspect that it would only be enforced in the event of an accident. I would also avoid riding a road style bike or roadie gear so you don't make an obvious target for enforcement. It would be kinda like driving a red Ferrari at 140 km/h on the 401. Sure everyone else is doing it but guess who'll get popped.
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Old 02-07-12, 11:54 AM   #10
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Yes, it could be enforced as it is an actual posted speed limit under Ontario Law, just as the 15 km/h limit on the Stanley Park Seawall (and much of the waterfront bike path in Vancouver) could be enforced.
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Old 02-07-12, 12:06 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hshearer View Post
Here's the situation: this is a large parkland (NCC lands in Ottawa), roads running through it, with on-road bike paths, also off-road MUPs. On the MUPs, a 20 km/h speed limit is often posted. My question is, can that speed limit be enforced, according to the regulations below. "bicycle path" is not defined in the regulations, but seems to be distinct from "driveways". The speeding regulations only apply to driveways. Furthermore, there is no requirement that bicycles be equipped with a spedometer.
If there is no requirement for a bicycle to have a speedometer it's probably all but impossible to enforce a speed limit unless someone is going vastly over it.

In London we have a large park (Richmond Park) that has a posted 20mph limit although it's common for cyclists to ignore it (especially on downhill sections). A cyclist going over the limit but not significantly so may be pulled over by the police and advised whereas a cyclist going significantly over 20 will probably be pulled over and warned not to ride so fast.

I think they work on the basis that even without a speedometer it's reasonable to assume that pedalling furiously down a steep hill is going to result in going way over 20mph. Even then any cyclist who simply claimed they didn't realise they were doing 38mph would probably walk free unless the police could prove they knew how fast they were going.
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Old 02-07-12, 12:39 PM   #12
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Even then any cyclist who simply claimed they didn't realise they were doing 38mph would probably walk free unless the police could prove they knew how fast they were going.
In the US there's no requirement that there be proof that the speeder knew how fast they were going. Conviction for speeding only requires convincing evidence that they were traveling faster than the speed limit. I'd be very surprised if either the UK or Canada required proof of the speeder's knowledge of his own speed.
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Old 02-07-12, 12:53 PM   #13
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I worked (it was volunteer work) with a guy who got a speeding ticket on a bike, in a park. I was dumbfounded. So was everyone he showed it to. But ... the guy had a lot of attitude, wasn't a fan of authority, and liked talking back. It made him an entertaining person to work with, but it's probably more responsible than his speed for the ticket he got.
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Old 02-07-12, 12:57 PM   #14
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Word! Don't get attitude with cops or waitstaff. Either one will cost you money and you won't get what you wanted!!
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Old 02-07-12, 12:58 PM   #15
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In the US there's no requirement that there be proof that the speeder knew how fast they were going. Conviction for speeding only requires convincing evidence that they were traveling faster than the speed limit. I'd be very surprised if either the UK or Canada required proof of the speeder's knowledge of his own speed.
In addition to that, if you tried to talk your way out of a ticket by claiming that your speedometer was broken, all you'd gain would be another ticket for defective equipment. As I see it, if they are going to enforce a 20 kph speed limit, the fact that you don't have a speedometer, and there's no requirement that your bike have one, isn't going to help you.

And the fact of the matter is, during the day in nice weather, 20 kph is a reasonable speed restriction for bikes on a MUT. The ones near me have walkers, rollerbladers, dog walkers, joggers, wheelchairs, families walking kids, kids riding on training wheels who can't track straight, and probably a dozen more reasons to keep it around 15 mph during the day, which is the posted limit. They're true "multiple user" trails and many casual cyclists only feel comfortable riding on them. We don't do ourselves any favors by zooming past them at 25+ while screaming "ON YOUR LEFT" at the top of our lungs.
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Old 02-07-12, 01:29 PM   #16
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^ Don't bother screaming "on your left;" they have ear buds in and won't hear you anyway.
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Old 02-07-12, 04:57 PM   #17
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In the US there's no requirement that there be proof that the speeder knew how fast they were going. Conviction for speeding only requires convincing evidence that they were traveling faster than the speed limit. I'd be very surprised if either the UK or Canada required proof of the speeder's knowledge of his own speed.
Not sure what I can say to that, other than that the police in Richmond Park have been reported to take cyclists going at great speed to one side and have a few words with them but as a rule can't prosecute them unless they fall foul of some other law.

A car is required to have a working speedometer so for a motorist to claim their speedo was broken would just invite another fine. A cyclist is not required to have any means of measuring their own speed (presumably because until fairly recently it was rare to find any speed limit lower than 30mph). If it were as easy as you're saying to prosecute a cyclist who genuinely and legally didn't know they were speeding then I could see a lot more speeding tickets being issued. It's common knowledge that just about anyone wearing a body suit on a road bike in Richmond Park (and there are many of them at just about any time) will be breaking the speed limit for at least some of their laps.
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Old 02-07-12, 05:29 PM   #18
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Perhaps it would make sense to require speedometers on bikes, as with cars. Considering how desperately eager a lot of A&S is to have their bike confused for a car, I'm sure this suggestion will be taken to heart.
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Old 02-07-12, 06:18 PM   #19
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Perhaps it would make sense to require speedometers on bikes, as with cars. Considering how desperately eager a lot of A&S is to have their bike confused for a car, I'm sure this suggestion will be taken to heart.
Love it!! A&S needs to read some motorcycle forums - especially anything put up by ABATE or anti-helmet folks. The A&S guys are amateurs and late comers to the helmet and "didn't see him" arguments!
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Old 02-07-12, 06:21 PM   #20
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Not sure what I can say to that, other than that the police in Richmond Park have been reported to take cyclists going at great speed to one side and have a few words with them but as a rule can't prosecute them unless they fall foul of some other law.

A car is required to have a working speedometer so for a motorist to claim their speedo was broken would just invite another fine. A cyclist is not required to have any means of measuring their own speed (presumably because until fairly recently it was rare to find any speed limit lower than 30mph). If it were as easy as you're saying to prosecute a cyclist who genuinely and legally didn't know they were speeding then I could see a lot more speeding tickets being issued. It's common knowledge that just about anyone wearing a body suit on a road bike in Richmond Park (and there are many of them at just about any time) will be breaking the speed limit for at least some of their laps.
I'm calling BS...not "knowing" has never been a good defense in American court. Around here the sheriff, on occasion, puts one of the radar signs on the trail. Never, ever, try and tell me the spandex crowd don't know how fast they are going!!! GPS is a miracle I tell ya, a miracle!!
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Old 02-08-12, 01:11 AM   #21
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I'm calling BS...not "knowing" has never been a good defense in American court. Around here the sheriff, on occasion, puts one of the radar signs on the trail. Never, ever, try and tell me the spandex crowd don't know how fast they are going!!! GPS is a miracle I tell ya, a miracle!!
Call BS all you want. I'm talking about the UK, which might just be different to the US. There's also a huge difference between ignorance of the law and ignorance of the situation - the "good faith" defence if you will. For what it's worth we have a lot of radar-activated speed signs and the vast majority of the time they don't register my presence at all.

Interestingly a GPS probably provides a defence that a regular cycling computer doesn't - those nice big computer screens that show a bunch of numbers like speed, cadence, trip meter etc would make it hard to claim you didn't know how fast you were going. A GPS with lots of possible screens may not take that defence away on the basis you could have had the screen just showing a map rather than map and speed.
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Old 02-08-12, 01:12 AM   #22
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Perhaps it would make sense to require speedometers on bikes, as with cars. Considering how desperately eager a lot of A&S is to have their bike confused for a car, I'm sure this suggestion will be taken to heart.
Interesting thought but likely to fail for all the same reasons bicycle registration would fail. If you've got a couple of kids in their early teens who are potentially able to cycle fast enough to break a low speed limit but who are still considered minors from a legal perspective, what happens if they get caught speeding or caught without a working speedometer?
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