School’s Back – Keep the Community Safe

Update: see previous posts – Sept.1/15 Police To Enforce the Making Ontario’s Roads Safer Act, Bill 31 Starting Today, August 31, 2015 Ontario is Ready to Enforce Stiff Fines of up to $1,000 this Fall for Distracted Driving, June 3/15 New Ontario Road Laws Will Cost Ontarians Huge, June 2, 2015 Bill 31, Transportation Statute Law Amendment Act (Making Ontario’s Roads Safer), 2015 Receives Royal Assent

At least one parents is concerned moving some of the students to a St. John's school will mean younger kids spend too much time on a bus. Drivers failing to stop for a school bus can be fined up to $2,000 and six (6) demerit points for a first conviction. (Shutterstock)
At least one parent is concerned,  moving some of the students to a St. John’s school will mean younger kids will spend too much time on a bus.
Drivers failing to stop for a school bus can be fined up to $2,000 and six (6) demerit points for a first conviction. (Shutterstock)

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Toronto-area police are reminding drivers to be especially vigilant now that thousands of students are back at school — and back on the roads.

“We want to make sure that we are vigilant at all times when we are driving,” said Const. Thomas Ruttan of the Peel Regional Police.

Ruttan says drivers need to remember that kids don’t think like adults.

“They don’t drive so they don’t know what to expect from drivers. They’ve had a lot of experiences over the summer they want to share with their friends. They’re not paying attention to the roadway like we are paying attention or should be,” he said.

Misbehaving motorists will face higher fines under new Ontario laws that came into effect last month.

Drivers convicted of distracted driving now face a minimum fine of $490 and three demerit points with the maximum set at $1,000.

“I can think of a lot better things to spend my money on, that’s for sure,” Ruttan said. “Not to mention how dangerous it is, especially when children go to school.”

Police will also watching for proper stopping distances from school buses and crossing guard locations as well as speeding in school and community safety zones.

Motorists should also take care around kids going to and from school on bikes.

Ontario’s new laws also bring a minimum fine of $110 and two points to drivers who don’t leave at least one metre of space when possible when passing cyclists. Motorists who open their doors without looking, causing a cyclist to crash into them, now face a minimum fine of $365 and three demerit points.

Ontario’s New Road Rules that Became Effective Sept.1/15

School Buses:

 Under Making Ontario’s Roads Safer Act, Bill 31 School buses will be more recognizible — they will now be the only buses permitted to be chrome yellow. Drivers failing to stop for a school bus can be fined up to $2,000 and six demerit points for a first conviction.
Under Making Ontario’s Roads Safer Act, Bill 31 School buses will be more recognizible — they will now be the only buses permitted to be chrome yellow.
Drivers failing to stop for a school bus can be fined up to $2,000 and six demerit points for a first conviction.

A.  Distracted Driving:

Fines jump to between $300 to $1,000, from the current $60 to $500. The Fine increases from $280 to $490. Three (3) demerit points if convicted of a distracted driving offence. Distracted driving added to list of novice driver conditions. A novice licenced driver (without a full “G” drivers licence – with a G1,G2,M1,M2,M2-L or M2-M licence) will receive a minimum 30 day driving suspension for the first conviction and escalating sanctions for any subsequent convictions. That's still less than fines for distracted driving in P.E.I., the costliest in the country, which start at a $500 minimum and go to a maximum of $1,200, plus five demerit points. Drivers in Manitoba convicted of distracted driving will also get five demerit points, but the fine is lower at just $200.
Fines jump to between $300 to $1,000, from the current $60 to $500. The Fine increases from $280 to $490.
Three (3) demerit points if convicted of a distracted driving offence.
Distracted driving added to list of novice driver conditions. A novice licenced driver (without a full “G” drivers licence – with a G1,G2,M1,M2,M2-L or M2-M licence) will receive a minimum 30 day driving suspension for the first conviction and escalating sanctions for any subsequent convictions.
That’s still less than fines for distracted driving in P.E.I., the costliest in the country, which start at a $500 minimum and go to a maximum of $1,200, plus five demerit points. Drivers in Manitoba convicted of distracted driving will also get five demerit points, but the fine is lower at just $200.

B.  Pedestrian Cross Over/School Crossings:

Drivers must allow pedestrians to completely cross at a school and pedestrian crossing (and get off the road) before moving forward, current rules says driver must only yield half the crossing. Cyclists are not allowed to ride their bikes within the crosswalk. The fines for breaching this new amendment to the HTA is $150 and doubled in community safety zone to $300. This applies to pedestrians and to persons in wheelchair and streetcars that are approaching the crosswalk, in the crosswalk. It also applies to vehicles passing vehicles close to a crosswalk.
Drivers must allow pedestrians to completely cross at a school and pedestrian crossing (and completely get off the road) before moving forward, prior rules says driver must only yield half the crossing.
Cyclists are not allowed to ride their bikes within the crosswalk. The fines for breaching this new amendment to the HTA is $150 and doubled in community safety zones to $300. This applies to pedestrians and to persons in wheelchair and streetcars that are approaching the crosswalk or actually in the crosswalk. It also applies to vehicles passing vehicles/streetcars close (30 metres) to a crosswalk. Municipalities can now place more crosswalks on low-speed/volume roads.

C.  Opening any vehicle door and coming into contract with cyclists or vehicle, also known as “Dooring” or a “Door Prize”:

Property of Ontario Motor Vehicle Tickets

 Dooring: this involves the act of a driver or passenger opening a door, on either side of the vehicle, where a cyclist ends up coming into contact with that opened door. Either the driver or passenger can be charged. The Fault Determination Rules in Regulation 668 under the Insurance Act of Ontario finds that any driver or passenger that opens the door of the vehicle, on the driver’s side or passenger side is 100% responsible for any incident where a cyclist comes into contact with that door. Drivers convicted of “dooring” cyclists will now be fined $365 to $1000 (the previous minimum fines were $60 to $500), about double the current level and will also receive three (3) demerit points, up from the previous two (2) demerit points.
Dooring: this involves the act of a driver or passenger opening a door, on either side of the vehicle, where a cyclist ends up coming into contact with that opened door. Either the driver or passenger can be charged. The Fault Determination Rules in Regulation 668 under the Insurance Act of Ontario finds that any driver or passenger that opens the door of the vehicle, on the driver’s side or passenger side is 100% responsible for any incident where a cyclist comes into contact with that door.
Drivers convicted of “dooring” cyclists will now be fined $365 to $1000 (the previous minimum fine was $60 to $500), about double the current level and will also receive three (3) demerit points, up from the previous two (2) demerit points.

D.  Cyclists and their Bicycle Equipment:

A bike must have a white front light and a red rear light or reflector if you ride between ½ hour before sunset and ½ hour after sunrise, and white reflective tape on the front forks and red reflective tape on rear forks. Cyclists riding bicycles without the required lights and reflectors will face fines between $60.00 and $500.00 up from the previous fine of $20.00..
A bike must have a white front light and a red rear light or reflector if you ride between ½ hour before sunset and ½ hour after sunrise, and white reflective tape on the front forks and red reflective tape on rear forks. Cyclists riding bicycles without the required lights and reflectors will face fines between $60.00 and $500.00 up from the previous fine of $20.00. The fine is slightly higher than Alberta, where cyclists may face a fine of $100 for riding a bicycle at night, without lights. In Quebec, cyclists face a fine of $37 if their bicycles aren’t equipped with proper reflectors and cyclists may face a fine of $36 for riding a bicycle at night, without lights. Ontario cyclists will now be able to ride on paved shoulders (rather than the main lanes) on provincial highways, other than restricted-access highways, like the 401.

E.  Cyclists Must Now Be Provided 1 Metre/3.28084 Feet by Vehicles, When the Vehicle is Passing the Cyclist:

Drivers passing cyclists on the road will also have to keep at least one metre away from the cyclist, where practical. Motorists who do not respect a safe distance (1 Metre/3.28084 Feet) between their vehicle and the bicycle will be fined a minimum of $110 or $180 if the offence took place in a community safety zone. A conviction will result in the fine and the addition of two (2) demerit points to the motorist's driving record.
Drivers passing cyclists on the road will also have to keep at least one metre away from the cyclist, where practical. Motorists who do not respect a safe distance (1 Metre/3.28084 Feet) between their vehicle and the bicycle will be fined a minimum of $110 or $180 if the offence took place in a community safety zone. A conviction will result in the fine and the addition of two (2) demerit points to the motorist’s driving record.

F.  Tow Trucks. Motorists must slow down, and move over a lane, when tow trucks attend to roadside incidents and their amber lights are engaged.

Slow Down, Move Over requirement for motorists would apply to two trucks at side or roadside incidents when amber lights engaged, not just first responders like police. The minimum fine for failing to slow down and move over is $490. When there are accidents or vehicles needs to be removed from roads or highways, tow trucks become necessary and they want to do their jobs safely and return home safely after doing so.
Slow Down, Move Over requirement for motorists would apply to tow trucks at side or roadside incidents when amber lights engaged, not just first responders like police. The minimum fine for failing to slow down and move over is $490. When there are accidents or vehicles needs to be removed from roads or highways, tow trucks become necessary and they want to do their jobs safely and return home safely after doing so.

G.  Driver’s Licence can be used a valid photo identification, even after it has been revoked due to a medical condition, until it is formally reinstated:

The Ministry of Transportation (MOT) through the Medical Advisory Committee determine whether someone can continue to drive or not. If the Medical Advisory Committee determines that a driver poses a risk to others, that driver can have their licence immediately revoked. The MOT's Medical Advisory Committee has determined the following medical/mental conditions High risk conditions are conditions that are chronic, deteriorating, unstable or progressive such as Advanced dementia or Alzheimer's disease Uncontrolled seizures or diabetes Substance abuse, psychiatric disorders with symptoms of suicidal thoughts, extreme agitation, impulsive or violent behaviour etc. Uncontrolled sleep apnea refusing treatment Now, when a driver has lost his/her driving privileges in the past, the licence could not be maintained as a form or valid identification; that has now changed. The MOT will allow driver's who may be able to driver again in the future, to hold onto their driver's licence to be used as valid government photo identification. Low risk conditions are deemed to be those that do not pose an immediate or serious risk to road safety; conditions that are stable and/or temporary, such as Controlled sleep apnea Seizure occurring one year ago or more Controlled diabetes Heart disease Reactive depression Cast/splints Stable psychiatric disorders
The Ministry of Transportation (MOT) through the Medical Advisory Committee determine whether someone can continue to drive or not, based on medical/mental considerations. If the Medical Advisory Committee (MAC) determines that a driver poses a risk to others, that driver will have their licence immediately revoked via the Registrar of Motor Vehicles. IF the MAC determines that the medical/mental condition can stablize and is temporary (which do not pose as an immediate,  serious risk to road safety) then the licence can be reinstated,
Now, when a driver has lost his/her driving privileges in the past, the licence could not be maintained as a form or valid identification; that has now changed. The MOT will allow driver’s who may be able to driver again in the future, to hold onto their driver’s licence to be used as valid government photo identification. It would be useful in the Oct.19/15 Federal Election.

H.  Medically Unfit Drivers, Drivers with Medical Conditions:

Bill 31, Transportation Statute Law Amendment Act (Making Ontario's Roads Safer), 2015 strengthens mandatory and discretionary medical reporting requirements for conditions that impact driving ability. More medical professionals will be allowed to report conditions impacting driving. Most Canadian jurisdictions rely on the CMA guidelines Determining Medical Fitness to Drive: A Guide for Physicians (15) as a guide to determine when a driver’s license should be suspended and restored.
Bill 31, Transportation Statute Law Amendment Act (Making Ontario’s Roads Safer), 2015 strengthens mandatory and discretionary medical reporting requirements for conditions that impact driving ability. More medical professionals will be allowed to report conditions impacting driving.
Most Canadian jurisdictions rely on the CMA guidelines Determining Medical Fitness to Drive: A Guide for Physicians (15) as a guide to determine when a driver’s license should be suspended and restored.

Iqaluit: Residents Concerned about Pedestrian Safety after Traffic Influx

Update: see previous posts – August 15/15 Iqaluit: Iqaluit Teen Struck by Vehicle, July 31/15 Iqaluit: Road Safety Concerns Raised in Iqaluit after 4-Year-Old Boy Killed, July 21/15 Iqaluit: No Charges Laid in Iqaluit Crash that Sent 2 Young Girls to Hospital

Pedestrians crossing the busy four-corners intersection in downtown Iqaluit. Photo by CBC
Pedestrians crossing the busy four-corners intersection in downtown Iqaluit. (CBC)

‘We need to come up with a solution before a child gets hit,’ says resident Steven Lonsdale

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A traffic influx in Iqaluit has some residents sounding off about pedestrian safety again.

With the start of the school season, there are more cars on the road and many people say they’re seeing drivers rolling through stop signs, or just plain ignoring them.

“I’ve observed it throughout the day, it could be 10 in the morning or it could be 10 at night,” says Iqaluit resident Steven Lonsdale, who lives near the four-way stop in the Plateau.

“I don’t want to fear for my child’s life every time I send them out the door.”

Lonsdale shared his concerns on Facebook, and residents from other parts of town quickly chimed in with stories of close-calls.

“It happens at the Apex four-way, as well as the tundra subdivision and other parts of town,” Lonsdale says.

“There are places in the city that I feel are unsafe,” says resident Allen Auksaq.

Allen Auksaq Iqaluit resident

Iqaluit resident Allen Auksaq says there are places in the city that he feels are unsafe. (CBC)

“One place is near the boarding home, because there are medical patients from other communities trying to cross to the hospital, and people don’t stop.”

Another resident, Andrew Cameron, says pedestrians also need to start paying attention.

“Honestly, people also walk out wherever they want without looking.”

The city says citizens should write down license plate numbers and report violators to municipal enforcement.

“We will investigate the incident and the witness will have to testify in court,” says Kevin Sloboda, Chief Enforcement Officer.

“People don’t have manners in this city, they just don’t care. A few years ago there was a child who got run over, and that could happen again,” says Israel Mablick, another resident.

‘We need to come up with a solution before a child gets hit’

This isn’t the first time residents have raised concerns about street safety in Iqaluit. In 2013, a 4-year-old boy died after he was hit by a truck at the four corners near Arctic Ventures Marketplace. One year later two girls were hit on the same stretch of road. The incidents lead to calls for better-marked crosswalks in the city.

RCMP spokesperson Yvonne Niego says motorists need to be more cautious, especially when they’re driving in areas with children.

“The bus stops are unmarked and sometimes it can be very difficult to see the children behind the posts and while they’re playing,” Niego says.

Lonsdale says it’s only a matter of time before there’s another tragedy.

“We need to come up with a solution before a child gets hit.”

B.C.: Cyclist Who Slides Under Truck Lives to Tell the Tale

Update:

Ladislav Cumpelik and what remains of the shorts that helped save his life. (CBC)
Ladislav Cumpelik and what remains of the shorts that helped save his life. (CBC)

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There’s Tom Cruise, Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger and now there’s… Ladislav Cumpelik?

Cumpelik is the B.C. cyclist who against all odds survived when his morning commute went from Mission: Impossible to Die Hard.

A lot of stuff was going through my brain… ‘Is this my last journey?’ – Ladislav Cumpelik, cyclist

The 37-year-old Saanich man says he was riding to work on Thursday, coming down a steep hill along West Saanich Road, when a flatbed semi-trailer truck sailed right out in front of him.

Cumpelik desperately slammed on the brakes, but it was too late. He lost control of the bike, hit the road hard and was rapidly sliding between the truck’s wheels.

“My front tire went from underneath me, I started skidding on my back and behind, and I noticed…I didn’t have enough speed to go underneath the truck and through to the other side.”

All hope seemed lost.

‘I had a death grip on’

But what happened next was like a scene from an action movie.

“I grabbed on to his brake line and held on tight and started screaming.”

Sliding along the road, underneath a moving truck, Cumpelik was hanging on for dear life.

“A lot of stuff was going through my brain… ‘Is this my last journey?’ … And I was just screaming at the top of my lungs… I had a death grip on.”

Police say Cumpelik was dragged half a kilometre at an estimated 50 km/h before the truck stopped, after another motorist who witnessed the incident sped up alongside the trailer, honking and yelling.

Nothing short of a ‘miracle’

When emergency responders arrived, they found a man, battered, bruised and broken — but amazingly, alive. Saanich Police Const. Paul Cain described it as nothing short of a “miracle.”

“I’ve been doing this job for over 27 years and that was the first time I have ever seen anything like that,” said Cain.

Cumpelik is now recovering in hospital, having suffered some cuts, bruises, broken ribs, a broken shoulder and what he happily describes as “road rash.”

This isn’t the first time Cumpelik has had a lucky escape.

Last year, he says, he had another close call while out cycling. And when he was two years old, his mother says, he drowned, but was revived by his father.

“He’s our miracle baby… He’ll be bruised and he’ll remember this for a while, but I’m really glad he’s with us,” she said tearfully.

B.C.’s new action hero says he feels like Indiana Jones — but it isn’t something he’ll be doing again.

“It was a thrill ride, I’m glad I didn’t have to pay for it. It was certainly an interesting journey,” said Cumpelik.

“But I don’t wish it on anybody.”

Ladislav Cumpelik and parents Markyta and Ferdinand Cumpelik

Ladislav Cumpelik with his (very relieved) parents Markyta and Ferdinand Cumpelik. (CBC)

 

Toronto to Extend Bike Lanes on Richmond, Adelaide & Peter Streets

Update:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Starting this week, work to extend the dedicated cycle tracks on Richmond and Adelaide streets will begin in the city’s downtown core.

The bike lanes, which run westbound on Richmond Street and eastbound on Adelaide Street, will now extend all the way to Parliament Street.

The tracks currently only run from Bathurst Street to University Avenue.

Bike lanes will also be installed on both sides of Peter Street from King to Queen streets.

Starting this week (with an estimated completion date of September), work to extend the dedicated cycle tracks on Richmond and Adelaide streets will begin in the city’s downtown core. The bike lanes, which run westbound on Richmond Street and eastbound on Adelaide Street, will now extend all the way to Parliament Street.
Starting this week (with an estimated completion date of September), work to extend the dedicated cycle tracks on Richmond and Adelaide streets will begin in the city’s downtown core.
The bike lanes, which run westbound on Richmond Street and eastbound on Adelaide Street, will now extend all the way to Parliament Street.

The bike lanes were initially installed in 2014 as part of a pilot project and according to the City’s website, public feedback indicated that the tracks were “highly supported” by cyclists as well as local businesses, drivers and pedestrians.

The city said it received “numerous” requests to extend the tracks eastward.

“The extension of these cycle tracks is an important step toward improving the connectivity and safety of cycling in Toronto,” Coun. Jaye Robinson, chair of the City of Toronto’s Public Works and Infrastructure Committee, said in a news release issued Monday.

The track extension is expected to be complete by the end of September, weather permitting.

 

Iqaluit: Iqaluit Teen Struck by Vehicle

Update:

This is the new licence plate for Nunavut after they were told they could no longer use the licence plate in the shape of a polar bear, with the caption "Explore Canada's Arctic"
This is the new licence plate for Nunavut after they were told they could no longer use the licence plate in the shape of a polar bear, with the caption “Explore Canada’s Arctic”

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City councillor calls for painted crosswalks.

The debate over pedestrian safety in Iqaluit continues after a teenager was involved in an incident Wednesday afternoon near Arctic Ventures Marketplace.

Police say the 14-year old boy may have been running and accidently ran into the vehicle.

The boy suffered minor injuries and was taken to hospital where he was treated and released.

RCMP say no charges will be laid.

This was the second traffic accident involving children in the area in the last few weeks.

At the end of July, four-year old Tyler Qaqqasiq was killed after being hit by a truck near the four corners intersection near the grocery story.  The police investigation is continuing in that case.

At Tuesday’s city council meeting, councillor Joanasie Akumalik called for better-marked crosswalks in the city.

“If you’re down south, you could see paint, yellow paint or white paint or whatever colour, when you’re crossing the street, whether it be a stop sign or yield or go slow or school area,” he said.

Akumalik wants the city and public works to immediately paint busy crossings such as the ones in the area where the accident happened, including the crosswalks by the medical boarding home and by NorthMart.

In May, the city’s Engineering and Public Works committee recommended building real sidewalks to replace the current boulders and posts that separate pedestrians from traffic.