Five New Laws Affecting Cyclists and Drivers in Toronto
With four cyclists killed in 2015 already, the City has had extra pressure to revise the laws to better address the dangers of unsafe driving of both two- and four-wheel vehicles. The ongoing battle of the Toronto roads has resulted in some major changes in city legislation that will affect both cyclists and motorists. Below, find five such laws that you need to know for navigating the busy Toronto streets.
1. CYCLISTS MUST GLOW IN THE DARK
Effective September 1, 2015, cyclists who do not use the required bicycle lights and reflectors will now face a set fine of $110. Bicycles must have a white front light and a red rear light or reflector if a cyclist wants to ride between half an hour before sunset and half an hour after sunrise. White reflective tape should be on the front forks and red reflective tape should be on the rear end of the bicycle. This addresses and aims to prevent the influx of collisions due to poor visibility during specific hours of minimal natural light.
2. DRIVERS NEED TO BE ALERT WHEN EXITING THEIR VEHICLES
In November 2013, Toronto police finally began tracking the number of “dooring” incidents, with startling statistics. After only 9 months, 62 incidents were reported, with many resulting in injury and hospitalization. As of September 1, 2015, anyone who “doors” a cyclist, or opens a car door and strikes a passing cyclist, will face a set fine of $365 and three demerit points.
3. DRIVERS NEED TO GIVE CYCLISTS THEIR SPACE
Many collisions occur due to motorists overtaking cyclists and cutting them off without enough warning or room to stop safely. Effective September 1, 2015, motor vehicle drivers must leave at least one metre of distance when passing a cyclist. Those who fail to leave enough room may face a $110 fine and two demerit points.
4. CYCLISTS ARE INSURED
Cyclists who suffer injuries as a result of accidents involving motor vehicles can make a claim to their own motor vehicle insurance for no-fault benefits. If they do not have motor vehicle insurance they can claim no-fault benefits from any motor vehicle insurer that insured any of the motor vehicles involved in the accident.
5. THE SAME TRAFFIC LAWS APPLY TO CYCLISTS
Cyclists must obey all traffic laws including stopping at red lights and stop signs. While motorists need to take proper precaution and be more accommodating, cyclists need to do their part to also abide by the rules of the road for their own safety and for that of other cyclists, motorists and pedestrians.
This new legislation will hopefully prove to prevent and diminish the number of injuries sustained by cyclists due to unsafe conditions and interactions with motor vehicles. The City still has a long way to go to provide more bike lanes and address problem areas and traffic congestion. However, there is a concerted effort to find solutions and common ground between cyclists and motorists, thus paving the way to better and safer roads in Toronto.
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Neither the author of this article or Singer Kwinter can accept any responsibility for financial loss nor gain of any nature should the reader not take advice from their legal advisor.