Amendments to Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act Welcomed by Many

On 21st October, 2014- Steven Del Duca (Transport Minister) reintroduced in the legislature certain amendments to Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act. Earlier this year, Liberal government had initially put forward the proposals but due to the June elections these were not passed.
Mr. Del Duca made it clear in a certain interview that it is essential for the government to show support to the Ontario cycling community and make the motorists understand that it is important to share roads with cyclists.
According to the amendments, careless drivers responsible for injuring cyclists in dooring accidents will be fined for an amount between $300to $1000. The previous fine range was from $60 to $300. Along with the fine, the drivers will also be charged with demerit points (three points). Demerit point and a very high fine will also be applied on drivers who are caught using their mobile phones while driving.
Due to the changes in the legislation, municipalities in Ontario will get the chance to build contra-flow cycling lanes without the permission of the local councils. City statistics have shown that contra-flow lanes have increased cycling traffic in Toronto’s Shaw Street.
Cyclists will also be allowed to ride on certain provincial highways and motorists will have to leave a space of about one meter when they will pass by any cyclist. The law has been extended to punish drunk drivers and those drivers who take drugs.
Cyclists had been demanding the authorities to beef up Ontario’s laws so that future dooring incidents and other kinds of accidents can be avoided. Therefore amendments to the Highway Traffic Act have obviously been welcomed by the cycling community.
In relation to these amendments, Cycle Toronto’s Executive Director- Jared Kolb said that from the enforcement and educational perspective these steps are important. But much more work has to be done from the infrastructural perspective.