As of July 1, 2008, any driver of a motorized vehicle or boat, caught idling in Kingston for more than three minutes — or five minutes when the temperature is below 5 degrees Celsius — may be subject to a fine (with few exceptions).
Image: a No Idling sign
The scope of the Bylaw has been expanded to apply to the entire city (as opposed to just the city's centre) and to remove summer temperature exemptions. Those exemptions made it difficult for bylaw officers to enforce the Bylaw which is intended to reduce the city's share of green house gas emissions.
Keep Kingston's Air Clean: Don't Idle
The City has committed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 10 per cent (of year 2000 levels) by 2014. If all city drivers comply with the bylaw, Kingston could reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by almost a full per cent.
- Every litre of gas you use produces 5 pounds of carbon dioxide.
- Ten seconds of idling uses more fuel than turning off your engine and restarting it.
- A recent study suggests that, in the peak of winter, Canadians idle their vehicles for a combined total of 75 million minutes a day.
Idling Bylaw - Frequently Asked Questions
Who enforces the Bylaw?
City of Kingston Bylaw Enforcement Officers will enforce the Bylaw. Anyone who contravenes the Bylaw is guilty of an offence and may be subject to a fine.
Can I idle in my driveway?
No. The Bylaw applies to private and public property.
Can I warm up my car?
Yes. The Bylaw allows for vehicles to idle up to five minutes when the temperature is below 5 degrees Celsius. This should be sufficient time for your vehicle to warm up.
Can I idle when I am stopped in heavy traffic, or am having an emergency or a problem with my vehicle?
Yes. The Bylaw provides an exemption to vehicles or boats required to remain motionless because of an emergency situation or due to other situations such as traffic, weather conditions or mechanical difficulties over which the driver has no control.
Can taxis idle?
No. This exemption ended on July 1, 2012.
Can electric cars or hybrid vehicles idle?
What vehicles are exempt from the Idling Bylaw?
The following vehicles are exempt from the Idling Bylaw:
- Emergency vehicles and emergency boats while engaged in operational activities, including training activities, except where idling is substantially for the convenience of the operator of the vehicle or boat.
- Vehicles and boats assisting in an emergency activity.
- Vehicles or boats required to remain motionless which is warranted because of an emergency situation or other situations such as traffic, weather conditions or mechanical difficulties over which the driver has no control is exempt.
- Vehicles or boats where idling is required to repair or prepare the vehicle or boat for service.
- Mobile workshops while they are in the course of being used for their basic function.
- Armored vehicles where a person remains inside the vehicle while loading or unloading.
- Vehicles or boats engaged in a parade or race or any other event authorized by City Council.
- Transit vehicles and Tour boats will be permitted to idle for five (5) minutes in a sixty (60) minute period while passengers are embarking or disembarking en route or in a terminal.
- Publicly operated boats to ferry passengers and vehicles on a set route and schedule.
- Agricultural equipment while being operated on agricultural property.
- Vehicles transporting a person who possesses a Doctors certificate stating for medical reasons the environmental surroundings of a person must be maintained at a certain temperature or humidity.
- Hybrid or electric vehicles.
- Taxi vehicles while actively engaged in their operation. This exemption ended on July 1, 2012.