Ontario: New Law Limits Level of Window Tinting, Cyclists Rejoice

Update: see previous post – January 16, 2010 Tinting Motor Vehicle Windows

Row of parked bicycles.
Row of parked bicycles.

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Cyclists in Ontario are applauding new laws that go into effect today and will reduce the amount of allowable window tint on vehicles.

New laws prohibit the front windshield from being tinted after market and stipulate windows to the right and left of the driver must not block more than 30 per cent of light.

There will be no new limit for rear windows.

While the law technically goes into effect today, they only affect cars built after Jan. 1, 2017.

Oliver Swainson, who manages City Cyclery in Windsor, Ont., says tinted windows make it difficult for cyclists and pedestrians to know whether the driver sees them.

So, he approves of the changes.

“You can’t tell that that driver is seeing you and it’s almost like Russian roulette as you pass in front of that car,” he said. “If you can see that they see you, it’s a sign of recognition that you’re both aware of each other, you’re not going to hit each other.

“When you can’t make that visual eye contact, it’s very nerve-wracking for both.”

It’s a view shared by police in Ottawa.

A police board report issued in March called the current Ontario laws regulating window tint “vague and problematic.”

“Windows that have too much tint can obstruct the view of the drivers and can make it difficult for pedestrians to make eye contact with drivers prior to stepping off the sidewalk to cross the road safely,” the report reads, in part.

Police also say less tint makes it easier for them to look for distracted drivers, who may be on their cellphone, for example.

Also known as light or tint meters, photometric meters are used to determine how much light passes through a car window.

A police officer in Gatineau, Que., uses a light meter to test the tint of a car window. A report coming before the Ottawa Police Services board on Monday will urge Ontario to match its rules with those that exist in Quebec.
A police officer in Gatineau, Que., uses a light meter to test the tint of a car window. A report coming before the Ottawa Police Services board on Monday will urge Ontario to match its rules with those that exist in Quebec. (CBC)

In Quebec, drivers can be ticketed anywhere from $154 to $525, depending upon the size of their vehicle, if their front side windows fail to let in at least 70 per cent light.

Not ‘end-all, be-all’ solution

Some cyclists say the new laws could prevent “dooring” incidents because they may now be able to see inside the car sooner as they approach — even though changes will not be made to rear window tint.

“If you can’t see effectively out those side mirrors, you have increased risk of striking a cyclist,” Swainson said.

Swainson said the new laws are “not the end-all, be-all” solution.

“It’s one more small step in making our streets safe,” said Swainson, who has been struck at an intersection in the past.

The last update to the province’s laws around car window tinting was in 1990.

Nationwide, approximately 7,500 cyclists are seriously injured every year in Canada, according to CAA. Sixty-four per cent of cyclist deaths from traffic crashes occurred on city roads — those with a speed limit up to 70 km/h. The remainder occurred on rural roads.

B.C.: Cyclists want Ontario’s One-Metre Rule Between Cars/Bikes

Update:

What is the penalty to drivers for not leaving a minimum of one-metre distance when passing a cyclist? The penalty for not leaving a minimum one-metre passing distance is a set fine of $85.00 plus a $5 court fee plus a $20 victim surcharge fine for a total payable of $110.00. Drivers who contest their ticket by going to court may face a fine of up to $500 if found guilty (fine range is $60 to $500). Upon conviction, two demerit points will also be assigned against the individual’s driver record. photo by fightyourtickets.ca
B.C. Cyclists want the B.C. government to adopt Ontario’s one-metre spacing rule between vehicles and cyclists which came into effect on Sept. 1/15. On that date, Making Ontario’s Roads Safer Act, Bill 31 came into effect. It means that motorists must give cyclists 1 metre (3.28084 feet) of space when passing them. photo by fightyourtickets.ca

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Reaction on social media to a CBC video about the new law has been interesting, to say the least

A Metro Vancouver cycling advocacy group is calling on the B.C. government to adopt a controversial new Ontario law that requires motorists to give one metre of space when passing cyclists.

Ontario is beginning to enforce the new legislation, passed last September, aimed at making roads safer. It includes a $110 fine and two demerit points for motorists who don’t give cyclist at least one metre of space.

“It’s actually something that we’re pushing for here in B.C.,” said Erin O’Melinn, executive director of HUB.

“It’s indicating to motorists when you have a law like this that you can’t just squeeze by people on bikes, you have to wait until it’s safe.”

Reaction to a CBC News video about police pulling over drivers as part of an awareness campaign included many complaining that vehicles would have to cross the centre dividing line to give cyclists a wide enough berth.

But O’Melinn said that is the safest tactic for keeping cyclists safe.

“You can go into the opposing lane if it’s safe to do so, and if it’s not then you need to slow down and wait until it is safe,” she said.

Police in Ontario agree. They say crossing the centre dividing line is exactly what drivers should do when it’s warranted and safe, just as they do on rural roads to pass slower vehicles.

Some Facebook comments called the law “hypocritical” and “sick.”

“What’s a better way than extorting citizens already taxed to drive a car and on the road and on gas only to deal with idiotic cyclists who never abide by any traffic laws ever,” wrote Nick O’Brien.

In B.C. there are no rules around how close a motorist on the road can legally get to a bike. However, there is a law that says cyclists must stay as far to the right as is practical.

One-metre rule between cars, cyclists gets heated reaction online

Update:

Drivers are being asked to leave one metre of room between their vehicles and cyclists they pass. The relatively new law came into effect in September 2015, and police will begin to enforce it after an educational campaign.
Drivers are being asked to leave one metre of room between their vehicles and cyclists they pass. The fine for not leaving 1 metre or 3.28084 feet of space between a vehicle and a cyclist is $110.00 plus two (2) demerit points. The relatively new law came into effect in September 2015, and police will begin to enforce it after an educational campaign. (CBC)

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‘Absolute idiocy and hypocritical enforcement with a raging double standard’

When you’re driving, do you make sure to keep at least one metre between your vehicle and the cyclists you pass?

If not, each offence in Ontario could cost you $110 and two demerit points — and Ottawa police say they’ll start enforcing the law soon.

But before that happens, police are conducting an educational, awareness-building campaign about the relatively new rule, which came into effect in Ontario in September 2015. To do that, they’re using two fancy new gadgets that beep when drivers get within one metre of them.

Officers used the devices earlier this week to pull over drivers on Somerset Street West as a demonstration only, and the reaction to a video CBC News Ottawa posted about it on social media has been interesting, to say the least.

As of Friday morning it had been viewed nearly 800,000 times and commented on almost 800 times, with the vast majority of people strongly against the rule and its pending enforcement.

Ottawa police cruiser. Ottawa police will start enforcing the one-metre space law that must be maintained as vehicles are passing cyclists. photo by fightyourtickets.ca
Ottawa police cruiser. Ottawa police will start enforcing the one-metre space law that must be maintained as vehicles are passing cyclists. photo by fightyourtickets.ca

Crossing centre line

Many commented that vehicles would have no choice but to cross the centre dividing line to give cyclists a wide enough berth.

Police say that’s exactly what drivers should do when it’s warranted and safe, just as they do on rural roads to pass slower vehicles.

Const. Chuck Benoit Ottawa police cycling one metre rule June 2016
Ottawa police spokesman Const. Chuck Benoit says the law isn’t being enforced with fines and demerit points yet. (CBC)

Ottawa police spokesman Const. Chuck Benoit says the law isn’t being enforced with fines and demerit points yet. (CBC)

“[Drivers are] able to cross that yellow line … when it’s safe to do so,” Ottawa police spokesman Const. Chuck Benoit said in an interview this week.

But what about when there’s oncoming traffic in the opposing lane?

“The motorist has to stay behind the cyclist until it’s safe to [pass],” Benoit said.

Cue the anger.

Ottawa police cruiser. When police begin to enforce the one-metre rule, motorists convicted face a fine of $110 and will gain two (2) demerit points on their driving record. photo by fightyourtickets.ca
Ottawa police cruiser. When police begin to enforce the one-metre rule, motorists convicted face a fine of $110 and will gain two (2) demerit points on their driving record. photo by fightyourtickets.ca

‘This is sick’

“Absolute idiocy and hypocritical enforcement with a raging double standard,” wrote Nick O’Brien on Facebook. “Guess they needed some revenue and what’s a better way than extorting citizens already taxed to drive a car and on the road and on gas only to deal with idiotic cyclists who never abide by any traffic laws ever.”

“I for one will not get myself caught in a face to face with another motorists just because the cyclists didn’t want to ride his bicycle over a manhole on the side of the street and decides to jolt himself in my lane, sorry but it will not happen, tax payers’ money went into making paths for those people and that’s where they belong PERIOD!,” wrote Francois Brousseau.

“This is sick. We pay a lot of money for our right to have our cars on the road and now we have to get out of the way for cyclist. Sorry…but have cyclists pay for their rights to use the road like the others and maybe I will share. Don’t tell me that they are saving the environment …They are killing the economy. People don’t spend and that is not good for our economy. Sorry but this is the way I feel,” wrote Jocelyne Lacelle.

“Good idea, but let’s see the cyclist follow the same rules of the road,” wrote Lily Rose.

“What if the cyclist swerves towards the car? What then?” wrote Marc De Silva.

What is the penalty to drivers for not leaving a minimum of one-metre distance when passing a cyclist? The penalty for not leaving a minimum one-metre passing distance is a set fine of $85.00 plus a $5 court fee plus a $20 victim surcharge fine for a total payable of $110.00. Drivers who contest their ticket by going to court may face a fine of up to $500 if found guilty (fine range is $60 to $500). Upon conviction, two demerit points will also be assigned against the individual’s driver record. photo by fightyourtickets.ca
Making Ontario’s Roads Safer Act, Bill 31 went into effect on Sept.1/15. As a result, what is the penalty to drivers for not leaving a minimum of one-metre distance when passing a cyclist?
The penalty for not leaving a minimum one-metre passing distance is a set fine of $85.00 plus a $5 court fee plus a $20 victim surcharge fine for a total payable of $110.00.
Drivers who contest their ticket by going to court may face a fine of up to $500 if found guilty (fine range is $60 to $500). Upon conviction, two demerit points will also be assigned against the individual’s driver record. photo by fightyourtickets.ca

‘It’s a healthy discussion’

Gareth Davies, president of the Ottawa group Citizens for Safe Cycling, says he’s glad to see any discussion about the issue.

“It’s a start to hopefully a bigger investment in education for all road users around how to share our roads effectively and safely. … I think it’s a healthy discussion. It’s important for people to feel like they understand what the rules are, especially a new rule like this, and it’s nice to see police showing that it’s enforceable without actually enforcing it the first time,” Davies said.

And he understands people wondering about the practicality of the rule, especially downtown.

“It kind of highlights the lack of space we have on some roads, really, and drivers need to know [that] the law allows them, they can cross the yellow line to provide that one-metre cushion for cyclists, and that they need to wait until there’s room in the oncoming lane to do that.”

Gareth Davies president Citizens for Safe Cycling Ottawa June 2016

Gareth Davies, president of Citizens for Safe Cycling, says the discussion being had about the relatively new rule is a good thing. (CBC)

Toronto: To Adjust Timing of Traffic Lights at 350 Intersections to Fight Gridlock

Update:

Vehicle traffic gridlock is a huge problem in Toronto. Any motorist who has driven in the city understands the excessive delays and frustration navigating the streets through constant gridlock. There are two seasons in Toronto, winter and construction. photo by fightyourtickets.ca
Vehicle traffic gridlock is a huge problem in Toronto. Any motorist who has driven in the city understands the excessive delays and frustration navigating the streets through constant gridlock. There are two seasons in Toronto, winter and construction. photo by fightyourtickets.ca

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In an effort to get traffic moving, Mayor John Tory says Toronto will re-time more than 350 traffic signals on 17 key routes throughout the city.

Tory made the latest gridlock-fighting announcement Thursday morning, adding that the expansion of the existing program will see 1,500 traffic signals re-timed by the end of 2017. The mayor says once that’s done it will mean that 60 per cent of the city’s traffic signals will have been re-timed.

The Yonge St and Dundas Street intersection. This is one of the most vehicle/pedestrian travelled intersections in Canada. photo by fightyourtickets
The Yonge St and Dundas Street intersection. This is one of the busiest intersections in Canada. photo by fightyourtickets.

The city says that signal re-timing reduced travel times on 11 of Toronto’s busiest roads last year.

“We’re taking action to keep Toronto moving by targeting some of our most congested routes in the city,” Tory said, adding that it is a low-cost, high-impact initiative.

Signal re-timing is part of Tory’s six-point congestion management plan.

 

Toronto: TTC to Permanently Eliminate All Sunday-Only Bus/Streetcar Stops

Update:

TTC streetcars. Last year, the TTC removed all 41 Sunday-only streetcar stops in the city. TTC is removing all remaining 28 Sunday-only bus stops by June 19.
TTC streetcars. Last year, the TTC removed all 41 Sunday-only streetcar stops in the city. TTC is removing all remaining 28 Sunday-only bus stops by June 19. photo by fightyourtickets.ca

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By Father’s Day, All Sunday-Only Bus/Streetcar Stops will be permanently eliminated.

TTC Bus. By Father's Day, all Sunday-only bus stops will be gone. Sunday stops, which were established in the 1920’s to reduce walking distance to nearby churches, are, at an average of about 125 metres away, too close to existing adjacent regular stops. photo by fightyourtickets.ca
TTC Bus. By Father’s Day, all Sunday-only bus stops will be gone. Sunday stops, which were established in the 1920’s to reduce walking distance to nearby churches, are, at an average of about 125 metres away, too close to existing adjacent regular stops. photo by fightyourtickets.ca

TTC service improvements and changes

As of June 19, 2016, several services changes will take effect and include: new or improved services, permanent service changes, discontinuation of routes, removal of Sunday-only bus stops, and removal of streetcar stops. View all Service Changes.

Often streetcars bunch up and passengers enter and exit both the front and rear doors of streetcars.
Often streetcars bunch up and passengers enter and exit both the front and rear doors of streetcars. photo by fightyourtickets.ca

New/Improved service

Permanent Service Changes

  • 24D Victoria Park – Branch discontinued
  • 35 Jane – Routing change
  • 172 Cherry Street – Route discontinued
  • 224 Victoria Park North – Route discontinued

Removal of Sunday-only bus stops

TTC is removing all remaining 28 Sunday-only bus stops by June 19. Last year, the TTC removed all 41 Sunday-only streetcar stops in the city. Sunday stops, which were established in the 1920’s to reduce walking distance to nearby churches, are, at an average of about 125 metres away, too close to existing adjacent regular stops — transportation best practices state that bus stops should be 300 to 400 metres apart. The TTC is removing the stops for safety reasons as well, as none are located at signalized intersections or crosswalks.

Removal/relocation of streetcar stops

To improve pedestrian safety and customer journey times, the TTC is also removing 13 streetcar stops by June 19 and relocating another 28 stops along Broadview Avenue, Dundas Street West, Gerrard Street East, Kingston Road, King Street East, King Street West, McCaul Street, Queen Street East and Queen Street West this year.

TTC is constantly making changes in an effort to make this public transit system safer and more efficient. photo by fightyourtickets.ca
TTC is constantly making changes in an effort to make this public transit system safer and more efficient. photo by fightyourtickets.ca