Making Ontario’s Roads Safer Act to Have Implications for Drivers and Cyclists, Say Personal Injury Lawyers in Ottawa
New laws recently passed in Ontario will not only potentially increase road safety for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians alike, but also include steeper penalties for those practicing unsafe driving habits. The Making Ontario’s Roads Safer Act, which was introduced as a bill last year, was passed into law in June. In addition to new regulations, with a more comprehensive definition of what is and isn’t legal on the road, now a personal injury lawyer in Ottawa would have a greater reach when defending your rights as a victim of another party’s reckless driving or cycling.
What It Means for Drivers
First things first, if you think it’s acceptable to text while behind the wheel, you should rethink that stance. If not for your own safety, or the safety of others, then at the very least for the sake of your wallet. The range of fines you can now receive for texting behind the wheel is between $300 and $1,000-a sharp increase from the previous $60 to $500-along with three demerit points. If you really must communicate from the road, get a Bluetooth headset or hands-free speaker phone; it’ll be safer for everyone. Impaired driving is now more comprehensively defined as well, to include driving while under the influence of illegal drugs. Penalties include licence suspension and mandatory counselling.
The law would also require you to be a bit more patient at crosswalks-you may face penalties if there are still pedestrians remaining in the crosswalk when you begin to drive through it.
What It Means for Cyclists
Just because your vehicle isn’t motorized, doesn’t mean that you don’t also have responsibilities, as an Ottawa personal injury lawyer may remind you. Riding your bike without either reflectors or safety lights could earn you a $500 fine, so buy the appropriate lights. Even if you have to save up, it’s still cheaper than the fine!
On a more positive note, you will soon be able to take your bicycle on more roads. The law would allow you to cycle on the paved shoulder of a provincial highway; as more become paved, your options increase.
How It Affects Both
There are sections to the Making Ontario’s Roads Safer Act that specifically apply to how drivers and cyclists interact with each other, with the priority of increasing the safety of cyclists. Now, all drivers are required to give a wider berth to cyclists-one metre by the new legal standard. There is now also a penalty for “dooring” a cyclist, i.e. hitting them with your car door. It will also carry a maximum fine of $1,000 and three demerit points.
If you have any additional questions about how the Making Ontario’s Roads Safer Act affects you, don’t hesitate to contact a personal injury lawyer in Ottawa; they have the expertise to answer any questions you may have!