Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Provincial matters with provincial responses

The grey sky overhead today was brighter than the roof of my car yesterday. Other than a few idiots on the road, like the one driving in the oncoming traffic lane towards me while passing an SUV in a residential area, it was a pleasant ride.

I sent my second email to my Member of Provincial Parliament yesterday. She replied to my first, but sort of passed it off and told me to talk to municipal politicians. I was disappointed in that type of response, and told her that "cycling is transportation" and transportation is a provincial concern. I'm curious if this discussion will go anywhere now.

If you live in the province of Ontario, you might be interested to know that MPP John Milloy of Kitchener is pushing for an expansion of the helmet law to include all ages. This kind of law has done nothing but harm cyclist safety in other jurisdictions by reducing the number of cyclists on the road. This would be a good time to let your MPP know that you're able to make decisions on your own.

If the province wants to make cycling and walking safer, they should go after the people who drive recklessly, who we see every day.

The text of the Ballot Item follows. The original text is here, about half way down the page.

Ballot Item Number 68 - To be debated on December 14, 2006.

Mr. Milloy - That, in the opinion of this House, the Government of Ontario:

Recognize the safety benefits of wearing an approved helmet by those using bicycles, in-line skates, skateboards, scooters and similar devices;

Acknowledge that the original intent of legislative changes made by this Legislature to Ontario's Highway Traffic Act in 1993 was that all cyclists should wear an approved helmet regardless of age;

Make helmet use mandatory for all cyclists in Ontario by repealing the regulation which exempts cyclists over the age of 18 from these legislative changes;

Explore legislative measures to make helmet use mandatory for those using other muscular-powered devices such as in-line skates, skateboards and scooters;

Take into account those who cannot wear a helmet because to do so would interfere with his or her religious beliefs or practices;

Instruct the Ministry of Health Promotion, in conjunction with the Ministry of Transportation and other relevant Ministries and stakeholders to develop a comprehensive education and safety campaign aimed at encouraging helmet use by those using bicycles, in-line skates, skateboards, scooters and similar devices;

Ensure any safety campaign also address broader safety issues related to bicycles, in-line skates, skateboards, scooters and similar devices including the role and responsibility of communities in ensuring the safety of all those using such devices as well as the special responsibility of motorists to ensure the safety of cyclists and others on our roadways.

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Darren J 12/13/2006 09:23:00 AM

4 Comments:

I like the second part of the motion ("...including the role and responsibility of communities in ensuring the safety of all those using such devices as well as the special responsibility of motorists to ensure the safety of cyclists and others on our roadways.") but not the mandatory helmet part.
I agree. The last part makes sense, but it doesn't specify anything concrete, and would likely be ignored in practise. It's just there to keep you and me happy.
"Take into account those who cannot wear a helmet because to do so would interfere with his or her religious beliefs or practices;"

So, is anyone else going to join the First Provincial Church of the Wind-blown Hair? ;)
When will the baptisms be held? Sign me up.

I wear my helmet almost all the time, but if I want to ride a few blocks to the store without a helmet, our province is totally misguided if it thinks it's making things better by expecting a police officer to stop me.

BREAKING NEWS:
The motion passed today! I believe this means that there will now be a debate about the issue. It doesn't mean there is a law yet, so now is a good time to write to your MPP and tell him or her that these laws are misguided.

Press Release from Milloy's office

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