September 27th, 2017
September 27th, 2017
NDP MPP for Parkdale-High Park, Cheri DiNovo, announced Thursday the details of her new private member’s bill, one designed to prevent injuries and deaths among vulnerable road users including cyclists, pedestrians, people in wheelchairs, emergency responders on the road, and road construction workers.
“The goal of the bill is to save lives” said DiNovo. “It is aimed to reduce the numbers of fatalities and injuries involving vulnerable road users and address concern of victims.”
“It is the most comprehensive vulnerable road user law in North America. This law sends a message that bad, careless and distracted driving that maims or kills people will be taken seriously by our police and court system,” said Patrick Brown, safety advocate on behalf of Coalition for Vulnerable Road User Laws. “We can no longer tolerate the increased road violence suffered by vulnerable road users.”
“A strong vulnerable road user law would greatly improve road safety in the province, while giving a voice to bereaved family members whose victim impact statements are often read in court without the convicted driver present to hear them,' said David Stark, co-founder of Friends and Families of Safe Streets and whose wife, Erica Stark, was standing on a sidewalk when she was struck and killed by a careless driver in 2014.
“We hope that the government will implement the package of improvements to the Highway Traffic Act that are in Cheri DiNovo's private member's bill,” added Stark.
Heather Sims, whose father was hit and killed by a driver in a completely avoidable incident shared similar thoughts: “This law will not bring my dad back or change the results of his case but going forward hopefully other families will not have to experience what my family has gone through. My dad's life was worth so much more than $500 and 2 demerit points.”
In DiNovo’s bill, penalties would apply to all driving offences under the Highway Traffic Act that result in the death or serious injury of a vulnerable road user. It includes community service, licence suspension, driver re-education and also requires a culpable motorist to attend court for sentencing and to hear victim impact statements.
Vulnerable road users law already exists in several jurisdictions in the United States. The City of Toronto passed a motion in 2015 requesting the province to table legislation protecting vulnerable road users.
DiNovo’s bill is supported by Cycle Toronto, Bikelaw Canada, Advocacy for Respect for Cyclists, Hoof & Cycle, Toronto Bicycling Network, Walk Toronto, Kids at Play, Toronto Centre for Active Transportation, Citizens for Safe Cycling, Citizens Environment Alliance and United Senior Citizens of Ontario Inc.