top of page

Holiday Hoopla

Updated: Feb 28, 2023

The Highway Traffic Act Hello, December readers! Today, in this overdue newsletter, we are going to discuss changes to the Highway Traffic Act (HTA) that are currently being discussed in Parliament.

(This photo is the ghost bike for Jibin Benoy. Critical Mass placed it after his death in a hit and run accident) First, we'll talk about the shorter one, Bill 15, Fairness for Road Users Act (Contraventions Causing Death or Serious Bodily Harm), 2022 ; it is a Private Members Bill being presented by Jennifer French, an Ottawa MPP who is seeking to get stricter penalties laid for drivers who hit people on smaller vehicles - motorcycles, bicycles, mopeds, etc. Then we will go through Bill 40, the Moving Ontarians Safely Act; a bill being presented by the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. Bill 40 is much more extensive than Bill 15 and seeks to change 44 subsections of the HTA. The Fairness for Road Users Act seeks to "amend the [HTA] to create an offence of contravention causing death or serious bodily harm". (https://www.ola.org/en/legislative-business/bills/parliament-43/session-1/bill-15) This matters because, currently, all judges can do is slap an HTA offense on the guilty party, which amounts to a fine of about $500. (Even the killer of Toronto cyclist Kartik Saini is only being charged with HTA offenses - one count of careless driving causing death, one count of turning not in safety, and one count of proceeding contrary to a sign.) There is currently not a lot judges can do to get justice for the families of those who have been hit. And, as you can imagine, "Guilty. Pay a fine of $500." isn't much comfort. Bill 15 will allow judges to charge not less than $2000 to no more than $50,000 and/or a prison sentence of not more than 2 years. The Act would come into effect as soon as it receives Royal consent. Bill 40 will definitively make drivers who hit other road users - and this is define as those on motorcycles, bicycles, other muscle or motor powered vehicles (mopeds, wheelchairs, etc); as well as those working on the roads like construction workers, police officers and EMS workers not in their vehicles - pay dearly. Among the consequences for causing bodily harm, or death, is a mandatory 2 year probation, during which they will have to: attend a driver's course, do community service of no less than 50 hours and no more than 200 hours that revolves around teaching others about safe driving (and the consequences of not driving safely). They will also have their license suspended for the duration of their probation. Finally, they will also have to listen to victim impact statements at sentencing, if there are any. You can read more about Bill 40 by clicking on the button below. There is a link to Bill 15 above. The point of both of these Bills is that the government is trying to do better in making sure that people don't get away practically scott free for running someone down. Accidents happen but we have heard too many times this year that the driver aimed for the cyclist. Completely malicious, horrible, and intolerable. We need drivers to be smarter. We need cyclists to be smarter. There are those of us who are making mistakes that are getting us hurt. To that end, we would like to see changes in to MTO handbook and testing. Currently, the handbook does talk about other road users, but they're missing points (like the green boxes at intersections. Do you know how to use them?) and none of what they talk about in the book is on any of the tests. (hmm gonna call us ORU) It feels like the MTO is dismissing ORU as an occasional interference with driving. This is not acceptable at all. We have had eighteen people come through our shop saying they've been hit by a car. (And I use 'car' to cover all vehicles.) We have heard that other shops have similar numbers. This does not include the ones who have been in the news. Between 2006 and 2017, London averaged 138 reported crashes between bicycles and vehicles per year. Fatalities increase as speed of the vehicle increases (obviously); at 30km/h, you will most likely kill someone. Yes, in this report, I am putting the onus on drivers to be safer, better drivers. The point is that there are ways to improve the safety for everyone but if cyclists are following all the rules, and many do (like our customer T, he was following the rules and an old fart in a truck decided he shouldn't be on the road and ran him down), that leaves it to drivers to know their rules. That starts when you learn to drive. So, changes need to be made. We plan to help get those changes made, one way or another. There are a couple of things that we think should be brought back. Remember Elmer the Safety Elephant? And the bike clinics at the schools? We want to bring them back. There are a couple of schools here in London that are doing the clinics for grades 5 and 6. There are some volunteers doing it. There is also the bike clinic at the Thames Valley Children's Center and I believe Squeaky Wheel Co-op does lessons for new riders. They do have their Ride to Thrive program for grade 5 and 6 students through London Cycle Link. I will be talking to London Cycle Link, I think, to see what we can do to help the advocacy. I have been a tad long-winded and I'd apologize for that but I feel pretty passionately about this. Here are some other resources: https://www.londoncyclelink.ca/news/2020/11/18/39km-of-bike-lanes-8km-of-sidewalks-and-4km-of-park-pathways http://wats.uwo.ca/ https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/london/london-bike-crash-average-1.5253474 https://getinvolved.london.ca/mobility-master-plan https://cyclingcanada.ca/ https://www.ontariobybike.ca/resources/cycling-clubs/ https://ontariocycling.org/

 Favourite quote this month: “When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.” — Arthur Conan Doyle, British author

4 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Commentaires

Noté 0 étoile sur 5.
Pas encore de note

Ajouter une note
bottom of page