What Does the Law Say About Using a Car to Tow a Bicyclist?

Towing a Person On a Bicycle or Other Similar Object Is Dangerous and Unlawful. Doing so May Result In a $1,000 Fine Plus Victim Surcharge and Court Cost As Well As Two Demerit Points and Also Insurance Consequences.

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Understanding the Penalties For Towing a Person On a Bicycle, Skateboard, Among Other Things

Man Riding a Bicycle While appearing as a fun and exciting activity, or even just as a playful travel convenience, towing a person who is riding a bicycle, skateboard, roller skates, or other similar thing, with a motor vehicle creates serious risk for the person being towed, and perhaps other persons. Accordingly, using a motor vehicle to tow people on a highway, which includes various types of roadways, is unlawful and may result in significant penalties.

The Law

As per section 160 of the Highway Traffic Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, using a motor vehicle to tow a person riding upon a bicycle, skateboard, roller skates, among other things, is an offence.  The applicable penalty upon conviction for a violation is found at section 214(1) of the Highway Traffic Act as section 160 is silent about, meaning failing to state, the penalty details.  Specifically, section 160 and section 214(1) of the Highway Traffic Act state:

Towing of persons on bicycles, toboggans, etc., prohibited

160 No driver of a vehicle or street car shall permit any person riding, riding on or operating a bicycle, coaster, toboggan, sled, skateboard, toy vehicle or any other type of conveyance or wearing roller skates, in-line skates or skis to attach the same, himself or herself to the vehicle or street car on a highway.

General penalty

214 (1) Every person who contravenes this Act or any regulation is guilty of an offence and on conviction, where a penalty for the contravention is not otherwise provided for herein, is liable to a fine of not less than $60 and not more than $1,000.

As show above, the general penalty prescribed by section 214(1) of the Highway Traffic Act imposes a fine ranging from sixty ($60) dollars to one thousand ($1,000) dollars for towing a person on a bicycle, skateboard, roller skates, among other things.  Furthermore, a statutory victim surcharge plus court cost will also apply in addition to the potential of serious affects upon insurance rates.

Summary Comment

Driving while towing a person on a bicycle, skateboard, roller skates, or other things, presents a great risk of serious harm to that person in the event of an accident.  Accordingly, the law forbids doing so and imposes a fine of up to one thousand ($1,000) dollars upon a finding of guilty when a driver is charged for doing so.

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