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Ford Flunks

About a year ago, we talked about Bills 15 and 40. I said we would keep an eye on both of them and let you know how they go.

Well, I now have something to report.

First, a reminder.

Bill 15 2022 is the "Fairness for Road Users Act (Contraventions Causing Death or Serious Bodily Harm)". It is an act to amend the Highway Traffic Act (HTA) and increase consequences to those causing serious bodily harm or death to a road user - that could be a cyclist, a pedestrian, a road worker, a hydro worker, etc..

It would amend Part X.0.1 of the HTA and reads thusly:

Contraventions causing death or serious bodily harm

191.0.2  Every person who, while contravening this Act or the regulations, causes, or contributes to causing, an accident that causes the death of a person or serious bodily harm to a person is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine of not less than $2,000 and not more than $50,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than two years, or to both, and in addition the person’s driver’s licence or permit may be suspended for a period of not more than five years.

The act would come into force the day the King gives his Royal Assent. As you can see, it would increase fines and time of imprisonment, along with the (temporary) suspension of the offender's license.

Bill 15 is still in Second Reading (Consideration) by the Standing Committee on Heritage, Infrastructure and Cultural Policy. It's been there since July 12th of this year.

Jennifer K. French, an NDP MPP out of Oshawa, is spearheading this act. Want to write or call her to see if there's a way to get this bill pushed through? Sure thing.

Constituency office

Unit 2

78 Centre St. N

Oshawa, ON L1G 4B6

Tel.: 905-723-2411

Fax: 905-723-1054

Legislative office

Room 344

Main Legislative Building, Queen's Park

Toronto, ON M7A 1A5

Tel.: 416-325-0117

Fax: 416-325-0084

Now, Bill 40 was much, much more.

It makes several amendments to the HTA. (My blog host is giving me snark about technical issues every time I try to link it. I will try again in a bit.) Here it what it says on the Bill's page on the Ontario Legislative Assembly website:


The Bill amends the Highway Traffic Act. It is about the legal consequences of a collision that seriously injures or kills a pedestrian, a cyclist, a mobility device user, a roadway worker, an emergency responder outside their motor vehicle or another individual listed in the Bill.

Here are some highlights:

The driver who caused the injury or death is guilty of an offence if they caused it by breaking one of the rules of the road listed in the Bill. The listed rules include rules about unlicensed drivers, driving while using a cell phone, speeding, careless driving, disobeying signs or lights at intersections or pedestrian crossovers, proper signalling, sharing the road, safety near emergency vehicles, safely opening car doors and other rules.

A driver convicted of the offence is subject to the consequences for breaking the rule, and to a mandatory probation order. The order will require the driver to take a driving instruction course and perform community service. The community service must include activity related to improving driving safety and public education on driving safety. Their driver’s licence will be suspended during the probation.

The driver must also attend the sentencing hearing. Victim impact statements may be presented during the sentencing hearing.

The Bill is a long one with dozens of proposed changes.

Moving Ontarians Safely Act, 2023 / Loi de 2023 visant à assurer à la population ontarienne des déplacements sûrs

Deferred vote on the motion for second reading of the following bill:

Bill 40, An Act to amend the Highway Traffic Act to provide for consequences to those who cause injury or death to certain road users / Projet de loi 40, Loi modifiant le Code de la route pour prévoir les conséquences qu’encourent les personnes qui causent des blessures à certains usagers de la route ou leur décès.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Call in the members. This is a five-minute bell.
The division bells rang from 1207 to 1212.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Members will please take their seats.

On November 16, 2023, MPP Harden moved second reading of Bill 40, An Act to amend the Highway Traffic Act to provide for consequences to those who cause injury or death to certain road users.

All those in favour, please rise and remain standing until recognized by the Clerk.

[33 people rose to say Aye, including Peggy Satler, Teresa Armstrong, and Terrence Kernaghan]

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): All those opposed to the motion will please rise and remain standing until recognized by the Clerk.

[67 people rose to say Nay, including Doug Ford. PC Rob Flack, of Elgin-Middlesex-London, either wasn't there or abstained from voting, he doesn't appear on either list.]

The Clerk of the Assembly (Mr. Trevor Day): The ayes are 33; the nay are 67.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I declare the motion lost.
Second reading negatived.

Why didn't it pass? Who knows. There are theories that dislikes Toronto cyclists and therefore didn't care to pass the bill. That meant most of his party "had" to follow, right? Can you hear my eyes rolling?

Why people decided that NOT advocating for cyclists and other road users is a good idea is beyond me. There are so many deaths and injuries and that link just shows road workers, never mind anyone else.

According to an article by McLeish Orlando LLP, there were 58 people killed and 183 more seriously injured just in Toronto in 2021. The nation wide number is around 7500 people. There is an excellent section of that blog about common causes of cycling collisions.

Interesting tidbit: there are 23,000km of bike path in Canada. That's longer than the Trans-Canada Highway at 7,476km. And, yet, 34% of Canadian neighbourhoods have no cycling structure. (And some of those have no sidewalks. Can't find the statistic for that but we all know they exist; Middlewoods Dr., I'm looking at you!)

Next, we'll look at a few stats regarding 4+ wheeled vehicles and other road users.

By the way, did you know that trucks and SUVS with high front ends, either sloped or blunt, are 45% more likely to kill the person they hit? Looking at your vehicle differently? Yeah... me, too.

It seems to me that it is largely incumbent to the cyclist to keep an eye on their own safety. Now, I know that's a controversial stance and isn't even really in keeping with the law, (the hierarchy of responsibility on the road, in particular), but think about it... If you're walking and you need to cross the road but there's no crosswalk. Do you

a) look both ways and wait for traffic to clear? or

b) just walk into the road because vehicles, as the larger road user, are responsible for those smaller than them?

It's the same thing. Watching for your own safety on the road -- in a vehicle, on bike, scooter or feet -- shouldn't be a debate. If you're not watching out for you, no one is watching out for you.

That's not to say that you shouldn't watch for other road users. Everyone shares in road safety responsibilities. I think that we all need to be aware of our surroundings at all times. No phones while driving, riding, or walking, for instance. Turning right from a road with a bike lane? Check the lane before you turn. Know where you are in relation to other users and objects. Basic common sense and common courtesy.

The penalties for injuring or killing someone with your (motorized) vehicle are not stiff enough. Ford really fell down when he encouraged his party to overthrow Bill 40, in my humble opinion.

I wonder if there's anything we can do about it.

This year will bring some great rides. Let's keep them safe.

And when Bill 15 moves on from its second reading, I will let you know the outcome.

“A bicycle is the finest mode of transport known to man.” — Adam Hart-Davis, English inventor

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