Suggestions For Interactions With Police and Aggressive Drivers
These suggestions were obtained from the Ottawa and Newmarket Bike Clubs. They are presented here for the guidance of BCC members. This does not represent an official endorsement by the BCC or a recommendation regarding actions that individual members should take in a given circumstance. Always remember that under the Ontario Highway Traffic Act bicycles are regarded as vehicles and are subject to the same laws as other road users.
- When dealing with a motorist or a police officer, only one person should talk on behalf of the group - normally the group leader. Other riders should listen but say nothing unless asked.
- Always be calm and courteous even while being provoked - emotions are quickly inflamed.
- Refrain from remonstrations such as giving the finger to aggressive motorists even though restraint may be difficult.
- If a motorist endangers the group and someone has a cell phone, call 911 immediately. Report the license number and description of the vehicle, together with a description of the driver.
- If the incident involved aggressive driving or abusive behaviour but was not dangerous, report it as soon as is convenient. The police non-emergency numbers for areas that we commonly use are given below and should be saved on your cell phone in case of need;
- If a motorist stops his vehicle and is confrontational, get the license number and call 911 immediately. Mention that the driver may be impaired - that likely will get you a quick police response. Tell the motorist that you have called the police and suggest that he remain at the scene, and then say no more.
- If your group is stopped by police, pull off the road.
- Be familiar with the jurisdiction you are in and the local traffic laws that apply. In addition to provincial rules there may be additional municipal, provincial or federal ones.
- If the issue for the police officer is riding two abreast, respectfully mention that there is no specific prohibition against the practice in the Ontario Highway Traffic Act.
- When you get the chance, explain that you ride single file in certain heavy traffic situations but two abreast is normally safer on lightly used rural roads as it stops overtaking traffic trying to squeeze by in the face of on-coming vehicles. Point out your primary concern is for the safety of the riders.
- If the police officer insists, comply with his/her directive and ride single file but report the incident to the traffic supervisor of the relevant police service.
- Always obtain the police officer's name and badge number (or if he/she won't give them, note the ID number that is on the cruiser).
- Some police officers may threaten to write tickets. Remember that tickets can only be written for infractions by an individual. There's no such thing as a group infraction. So if the officer chooses to ticket one person, say the tour leader, as "group punishment" or to set an example then potentially he would have to identify the rider in the pack and describe to a judge what the rider did to break the law. This is not so easy when that person may have been buried or "lost" among a pack of riders. That being said, you should not attempt to use anonymity as a cover for breaking the law.
- In Ontario, when asked to identify yourself, it is sufficient to give your correct name and address. It is better not to offer a driver's licence as you could wrongly accumulate motorist demerit points if ticketed.
|Peel Regional Police||905-453-3311|
|Halton Regional Police||905-825-4777|
|New Tecumseth Police
(Tottenham, Alliston area)
|Ontario Provincial Police (OPP)||1-888-310-1122|