Illustration by Warren Wheeler for issue 2 of dandyhorse.
Fines for 'dooring' and distracted driving set to increase
By Evan Morrison
Fines for 'dooring,' distracted driving and improper lighting on a bike are set to increase as of September 1, in order to create safer space for cyclists in Ontario.
The new legislation is part of Bill 31, also titled "Making Ontario Roads Safer Act."
'Dooring' a cyclist will now carry a fine of $365 (up from $60) plus three demerit points upon conviction. In addition, the legislation requires drivers to leave a one-metre distance when passing cyclists. Drivers who fail to do so will have to pay a $110 fine and receive two demerit points. The fine increases to $160 when the law is broken in a community safety zone.
Distracted driving will also carry heftier fines in the new law. Drivers convicted of distracted driving can face a set fine of $490 and three demerit points. Though novice drivers will receive a minimum 30-day suspension for the first conviction and longer suspensions for subsequent convictions.
Cyclists who don't have proper lighting on their bikes will also see increased fines. Bike riders must have a white or amber light on the front and a red light or reflector on their bicycles from a half hour before sunset to a half hour after sunrise or face a $110 fine.
A press release from the Ministry of Transportation outlines several facts about Ontario's road safety and highlights important points in the new law, including:
- If current collision trends continue, fatalities from distracted driving may exceed those from drinking and driving by 2016.
- Research indicates that a driver who uses a cell phone is four times more likely to be in a crash.
- A novice driver is one with a G1, G2, M1, M2, M2-L or M2-M licence.
- An estimated 1.2 million Ontarians ride a bicycle on a daily basis.
- Drivers failing to stop for a school bus can be fined up to $2,000 and six demerit points for a first conviction.
For additional information check out all of Bill 31, as well as the Ministry of Transportations page on distracted driving.
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