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Proposed bylaw aims to deter bike thefts

BT Toronto | posted Wednesday, Mar 28th, 2018

If you’re a cyclist in Toronto, you’re probably familiar with the anger and frustration of having bike parts parts or even your whole bike stolen.

One city Councillor is hoping to put a spoke in the wheel of bike thefts downtown.

Coun. Kristyn Wong Tam has proposed bylaw that would ban people from dismantling bikes in city parks, in hopes that it will deter “bike theft chains” that operate in the province.

“What we want to do is eliminate the opportunities of criminal activity, because those bike thieves are bringing those stolen bicycles into the parks and chopping up the parts and basically selling them,” she says.

In 2017, bike thefts jumped by 26 per cent compared to the previous year. More than 3700 bikes were reported stolen with many more likely going unreported.

Coun. Wong Tam says the details are still being worked out with city staff, but the bylaw will be enforced by the city. Penalties would likely include fines and escalate to park bans for repeat offenders.

If you happen to be changing a tire or doing a quick tune up however, the bylaw doesn’t apply. It’s specifically meant for repeat offenders.

But one bike shop owner says the bylaw may not make a significant dent in the soaring number of thefts.

“I think it might make a little difference, but it won’t make a major impact,” says Sean Killen, owner of Bikes and Wheels. “I think it’s going to still happen.”

Ali Sabbah who works at Bikes and Wheels says the bylaw needs to go a step further.

“It would be nice if there were some sort of bylaw implemented that maybe would prevent (stolen bikes) even from getting into my shop,” he says. “Then I’m not put in a situation where I have to discern whether or not it’s stolen or not stolen, or whether or not this person got his bike legitimately or by other means.”

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