The police recover many stolen bikes, but are often frustrated at not being able to return the stolen property to the owner as the owner is unknown to them. A license might help ensure that the owner recovered his or her bike.
The Toronto Police Service still registers bicycles, using the factory identification numbers. A difficulty is that many manufacturers repeat serial numbers, making these numbers hard to use as a means of identification. A license might work better.
The difficulty, of course, is that license plates, stickers, or other means of identification can be stripped from the bike, making a license hard to use as a reliable means of identification.
The need to identify a cyclist who has broken a traffic law or been involved in a collision has been identified as a key concern by many.
The various studies that have looked at licensing for cyclists have determined that there are many problems with issuing licenses to cyclists.
Police believe they have adequate tools to address cyclists who break traffic laws. The most important was the 1989 addition of Section 218 to the Highway Traffic Act.
- A police officer who finds any person contravening any provision under this Act [HTA] or any municipal by-law regulating traffic while in charge of a bicycle may require that that person stop and to provide identification of himself or herself.
- Every person who is required to stop, by a police officer acting under Subsection (1), shall stop and identify himself or herself to the police officer.
- For the purposes of this Section, giving one's correct name and address is sufficient identification.
- A police officer may arrest without warrant any person who does not comply with Subsection (2).