Starting today, September 1, 2015, drivers–and
cyclists–will face stiffer fines for a variety of unsafe
The "Making Ontario Roads Safer Act", which
sailed through the legislature with unanimous support in June,
seeks to reduce collisions on the roads. Many of the changes that
come into effect today (more are coming into effect at several points over the
next few years) are specifically aimed at protecting cyclists,
largely through the introduction of weightier fines under the
Highway Traffic Act.
These cyclist-friendly fines include:
Distracted driving: There will now be a set
fine of $490 and three demerit points for distracted driving.
Novice drivers will recieve a minimum 30-day suspension. This is
considerably more severe than the current $60 minimum penalty.
'Dooring' cyclists or vehicles: The
dreaded "door prize" will now impose upon drivers a set
fine of $365 and three demerit points. The current minimum is $60
(and no points).
Passing cyclists: Drivers must now leave a
buffer of at least one metre when passing a cyclist. Failure to do
so will mean a $110 fine and two demerit points. In a community
safety zone, passing a cyclist with less than 1 metre of distance
will mean a $180 fine and two points.
Improper lighting on bicycle: Per subsection
62(17) the Highway Traffic Act, during the period between
a half-hour before sunset and a half-hour after sunrise, or during
periods of otherwise poor visibility, cyclists must ensure there is
a white or amber light on the front, a red light or reflector on
the back, and reflective material on both both front and back forks
of their bicycles. Cyclists who do not have proper lighting for
their bicycles will now face higher fines. Before September 1,
there was a set fine of $20 for improper lighting on a bicycle.
This has now increased to $110.
As urban cycling continues to grow in popularity in cities like
Toronto, drivers and cyclists will need to find improved ways to
safely share the road. These stiffer penalties will hopefully go
some distance in discouraging unsafe behaviour.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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