Highlighting Bill 31, Transportation Statue Law Amendment Act (Making Ontario’s Roads Safer), 2015
Summer is officially here. The final days of school are upon us. Soon, we’ll be outside enjoying the warm weather with every spare moment.
One great way to enjoy the weather this summer is to stop driving and get active. Kathryn McGarry encourages us to cycle every morning we drive into work.
If you have the luxury of living close enough to work that you could enjoy a leisurely bike ride to and from work, I do recommend it. If not, drive part way and bike the rest. You’ll save gas, kilometers, and wear and tear on your vehicle. If you normally take public transit, bring your bike with you, get off earlier than usual and bike the rest of the way.
Ultimately you’re killing two birds with one stone by getting your daily exercise in on your way to work. You’ll also gain an overall improved quality of life. It’s proven that exercise and sunshine make us happy.
“Serotonin levels increase when you’re exposed to bright light — a major reason why moods tend to be more elevated during the summer.” – William Collinge, M.P.H., Ph.D., CNN.
“Endorphins tend to minimize the discomfort of exercise, block the feeling of pain and are even associated with a feeling of euphoria.” – MK McGovern, Bryn Mawr College.
Since lawyers “suffer from depression at a rate four times that of the general population,” (according to a Johns Hopkins study) lawyers have four times more reason to get out of the car and onto that bike.
The last reason to enjoy cycling this summer is to take advantage of the new Highway Traffic Act rules. It is now safer than ever to bike in Ontario (and more of an inconvenience to drive – especially in high traffic areas with lots of cyclists like downtown Toronto).
According to LawyerLocate.ca Inc. member, Singer Kwinter Personal Injury Lawyers on Biking Toronto, the following changes will affect cyclists on the road this summer:
- Cyclists can now use the paved shoulders of non-400 series highways.
- Cyclists can now use flashing red lights on the read of their bikes.
- Cyclists must use proper reflectors or lights or face a fine of up to $500.
- Bike lanes are now permitted in the opposite direction of regular traffic on one-way streets.
- Cyclists can now ride in crosswalks controlled by traffic signals.
- Cyclists must equip their bike with a bell, gong, or horn.
Ashley Csanady of the Ottawa Citizen outlines how drivers will be affected by these changes:
- Drivers must maintain a one-metre (minimum) distance when passing cyclists.
- Drivers caught texting while driving (distracted driving) can now face driving fines of up to $1,000 and three demerit points.
- Driving under the influence of any substance, drug or alcohol, will now receive equal penalties.
- “Dooring” a cyclist (opening your door when a cyclist is biking past resulting in the cyclist getting hit by your door) now has the same penalty as distracted driving.
- Drivers must treat tow trucks (with flashing lights) the same as an ambulance – slow down and move over.
- Drivers must now wait for pedestrians to completely cross the crosswalk before making a turn.
So, why not take advantage of the new road safety for cyclists? Why not kill two birds with one stone? As Kathryn McGarry at 498 Eagle Street says, get out and cycle!
More information about Bill 31, Transportation Statue Law Amendment Act (Making Ontario’s Roads Safer), 2015 on CanLii.
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