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Old 03-06-07, 06:33 PM   #1
gbcb
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Studded tires illegal in Canada?

Hi, all
I've been told that studded bicycle tires are illegal in Canada -- Southern Ontario, specifically -- but find this hard to believe. A quick Google search turned up info on the illegality of studded car tires, but I can't find anything specific about bikes. Anyone know the truth?
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Old 03-06-07, 06:47 PM   #2
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It could be a sort of urban legend. It could also be one of those laws that exists but is never enforced. (For example, I've never heard of anyone being cited by police for riding a bike in Pennsylvania without a headlight, even though a headlight is legally required at night.)

Laws against studded tires for vehicles weighing thousands of pounds make sense, because of the damage those vehicles can do to roads. I can't see what difference it makes to roads whether bikes use studs.
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Old 03-06-07, 09:41 PM   #3
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Even if it was illegal (which I highly doubt), no traffic cop is going to care. Besides, if your tires are caked in snow, you won't even be able to see the studs!
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Old 03-06-07, 09:52 PM   #4
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I was told the restriction applied to motor vehicles, but not to bikes. But I never read the laws myself.

The lawmakers probably are not even aware of the existence studded tires for bikes though.

UPDATE: Actually, here is the law. It looks as if it actually includes all vehicles, not just motor vehicles, even if it is not intentional...

Last edited by chephy; 03-06-07 at 10:01 PM.
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Old 03-06-07, 10:44 PM   #5
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I'd be surprised if they are illegal; the problem with them on cars was that the studs would fly off occasionally and crack a windshield I think, so it shouldn't pose a problem for bikes.

Last edited by olps; 03-07-07 at 09:38 AM.
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Old 03-06-07, 11:03 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chephy
It looks as if it actually includes all vehicles, not just motor vehicles, even if it is not intentional...

True. But that sheet also explicitly states that any "device" operated on a public road must have tires approved to motor vehicle standards, which no bicycle tire would meet. So the letter of the law here is meaningless, unless all bicycle tires are also illegal. Stud away.

As an aside, The latest on the motor vehicle prohibition on studs in Southern Ontario is that it may be relaxed. The OPP has been lobbying for this, according to some articles I have read.
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Old 03-06-07, 11:11 PM   #7
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Some Canadians I know showed me the studded tyres that they brought with them from Canada when they moved to my country. Too bad it doesn't even frost in our city

So yes, you can get studded tyres in some parts of Canada and they are used in winter. What good is the law if the law is an (inadequate means of keeping you off your) ass?
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Old 03-06-07, 11:13 PM   #8
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That law is a fascinating read. Mostly bikes are under 2500 kilogams so all (2) tires would have to have studs. With rare exceptions they would have to be in northern Ontario. Out of Province visitors in the southern areas for a short stay are excepted as well as her Majesty The Queen. Some barrister, please check me on that last one as I do not want to get into trouble for Lese Majesty.
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Old 03-06-07, 11:38 PM   #9
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They are illegal on "vehicles" in MI, but bicycles are not defined as "vehicles" here. These kinds of laws are best looked up yourself. Use one of the links provided or do your own google search and find your answer.
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Old 03-07-07, 01:00 AM   #10
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Thanks for the responses, everyone! I was curious since I had heard about the supposed illegality of studded bike tires from a guy who is quite into bikes. It didn't seem to make much sense to me, particularly since I've seen studded tires for sale at MEC in downtown Toronto...
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Old 03-07-07, 03:11 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gbcb
Thanks for the responses, everyone! I was curious since I had heard about the supposed illegality of studded bike tires from a guy who is quite into bikes. It didn't seem to make much sense to me, particularly since I've seen studded tires for sale at MEC in downtown Toronto...
Screw what they say. It's your safety. I'd buy it if I could afford it. That and a some body armor if I can afford that too. Yah I've seen the studded tires at MEC downtown.
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Old 03-07-07, 04:03 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by olps
I's be surprised if they are illegal; the problem with them on cars was that the studs would fly off occasionally and crack a windshield I think, so it shouldn't pose a problem for bikes.
Studded (car) tyres are legal where I live. Problems resulting from studs flying off are rare, a much bigger problem is the wear and tear on road surfaces. See this link for a pic. The loose sealing ground off by studded tyres pollutes the sides of the roads. The grooves you see in the pic are dangerous, especially in the rain when they become small streams of water (hydroplaning). Re-sealing the roads is expensive and causes lots of traffic delays in summertime.

That aside, I don't see why studded tyres for bikes should be illegal. I suppose it's a badly written law.

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Old 03-07-07, 04:37 AM   #13
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If your tyres have steel studs they could be legal according to the law chephy links to, since studded tyres are defined as:
Quote:
“studded tire” means a tire that has a tread embedded with devices that project beyond the tread and have a hardness of greater than seven on the Mohs scale
Steel, even when hardened, doesn't usually get above 7 on Mohs hardness scale. There are exceptions, of course. My tyres have tungsten carbide studs, so they have a hardness of around 9.
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Old 03-08-07, 01:07 AM   #14
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MEC sells them, so it must be okay, right?
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Old 03-08-07, 04:22 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gbcb
Hi, all
I've been told that studded bicycle tires are illegal in Canada -- Southern Ontario, specifically -- but find this hard to believe. A quick Google search turned up info on the illegality of studded car tires, but I can't find anything specific about bikes. Anyone know the truth?
In Pennsylvania, USA studded tires are illegal for cars. I doubt that the law even mentions bicycles. No one around here even knows that studded bike tires exist.

I work in the IT section of the State Department of Transportation. I happened to mention that I cycle in winter with studded tires. A DOT employee said, with a sense of shock in her voice “But studded tires are illegal” I laughed because I thought she was kidding. She wasn’t. Since then I tell people that I have “Snow tires’ but I still ride the studdeds. Who is going to stop me and check?
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Old 03-08-07, 08:39 AM   #16
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DJ says they're legal in MI, but I honestly don't care if they're legal or not. I need them to be safe, and if they were illegal, I'd use them anyway. All the cops I've ever met around here have been very much interested in keeping people safe more than giving anyone a hard time (unless they NEED an attitude adjustment); I don't think any cop would tell you that you need to take your studs off.

If one did, I'd be sure to ask for their badge number and tell them that I was going to send a letter to their station indicating that they had instructed me to remove an important safety device from my bike, and any falls in traffic should be investigated to see if the studded tires that THEY told me to remove could have prevented my accident/injury/death. See what they say.

But that's not really going to happen, because no cop is going to tell you that.
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Old 03-08-07, 08:47 AM   #17
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I can't imagine a cop even knowing that studded tires are available for bikes. They don't even know the bike traffic laws. Most cyclists don't know that studded tires for bikes exist. I really can't imagine a cop caring about your tires. I can imagine him wanting you to be safe and not fall in traffic.
If studded tires for bikes were illegal here I would use them every day. I don't want to slip and fall.
I know they are illegal for cars here, that may make them illegal for all vehicles. But I'm not going to start caring if they are illegal or not, I'm not going to do anything different.
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Old 03-08-07, 09:23 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by pinkrobe
MEC sells them, so it must be okay
+1

If that isn't ingrained in the charter of rights and freedoms, it should be.
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Old 03-08-07, 09:47 AM   #19
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The reason they're illegal where they are illegal is that they accelerate road surface wear and add microscopic particles that cause damage to the lungs and cardiovascular system and affect asthma sufferers negatively.

A bike tyre with studs only causes negligible wear and particle release.
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Old 03-08-07, 09:48 AM   #20
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I was interested in all the other specifications - particularly as regards wear. Perhaps the LEO's should pull over and confiscate all of the bikes with worn, bulging sidewalls, or less than 1.5 mm tread depth (No Slicks!). Do bike tires even come with wear bars? I haven't seen any on my slicks - and I think most knobbies will wear out on the sidewalls before the knobs...
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Old 03-08-07, 10:04 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CdCf
Steel, even when hardened, doesn't usually get above 7 on Mohs hardness scale. There are exceptions, of course. My tyres have tungsten carbide studs, so they have a hardness of around 9.
That's a pretty obscure scale.
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Old 03-08-07, 02:37 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by ghettocruiser
True. But that sheet also explicitly states that any "device" operated on a public road must have tires approved to motor vehicle standards, which no bicycle tire would meet.
That's not clear. The quote is "No person shall operate on a highway a motor vehicle, trailer, device or apparatus equipped with tires that ... were not manufactured to comply with the standards prescribed under the Motor Vehicle Tire Safety Act (Canada) and the regulations made thereunder as they existed on the 28th day of February, 1985". But now, what exactly does the Motor Vehicle Tire Safety Act say? I don't know. But it is very possible that it says something like "a tire manufactured to be used on a motor vehicle must meet such-and-such specification". So any tire that was not manufactured to be used on a motor vehicle (e.g. bicycle tire) automatically meets the act's standards since the act lays down an empty set of criteria for such tires.

UPDATE: What are the legal definitions of "device" and "apparatus" anyway? Perhaps a bicycle isn't even considered to be one of those.

Last edited by chephy; 03-08-07 at 02:49 PM.
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Old 03-08-07, 02:40 PM   #23
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Steel, even when hardened, doesn't usually get above 7 on Mohs hardness scale.
Wikipedia says hardened steel is between 7 and 8 on Mohs scale...
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Old 03-08-07, 02:55 PM   #24
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(For example, I've never heard of anyone being cited by police for riding a bike in Pennsylvania without a headlight, even though a headlight is legally required at night.)
I know someone who was (Mechanicsburg, PA).
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Old 03-08-07, 03:30 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by chephy
Wikipedia says hardened steel is between 7 and 8 on Mohs scale...
Yes, but I think that's meant to indicate the maximum hardness of any steel. What you'll find in most cases will likely be less than 7 in any case. At least my geology professor has said that he's been unable to find any piece of hardened steel that would scratch a mineral with hardness above 7 (quartz, for instance).

Mohs scale isn't a linear or even exponential scale, however, so the ratio between any two numbers does not allow you to find the ratio between the actual hardnesses. He simply chose ten minerals of increasing hardness, and assigned numbers to them. A mineral with higher hardness will scratch any mineral with lower hardness, but how great that difference in hardness is varies.

I expect well have a metallurgist here soon to prove me wrong!
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