A crackdown on law-breaking by cyclists in Canada is descending into farce. As well being ticketed for obvious offences such as riding on sidewalks, roadies in Montréal riding with strobing LEDs are being fined for not having reflectors on their clip-in pedals. In Canada, bicycles should have five reflectors fitted in order to be street legal: on the rear of the bike, at the front, on each of the wheels and on the pedals.
Such a crackdown has historical precedents, with 19th Century Canadian cyclists also being cited for silly offences as well as “scorching”, i.e. speeding through the streets. However, that’s not why I’m highlighting the 21st Century crackdown. Instead, I’d like to draw attention to the rather interesting historical revisionism of André Durocher, an inspector with the Traffic Division of the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal.
He has a Master’s Degree in Public Administration but he must have skipped any lessons that dealt with the history of public administration.
On Daybreak Montreal radio, Inspector Durocher said: “Our North American cities were built back in the 1800s and 1900s with only horses back at the time. Then cars appeared then cyclists and pedestrians.”
Inspector Durocher is strong on horses – he served five years with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police – but the rest of his transportation timeline leaves a lot to be desired.