Quebec Drivers beware: 15 new photo radar spots hit Quebec roads

Update: see previous post – October 20, 2015 Quebec Drivers beware: mobile photo radar gets rolling

Quebec hopes to have 50 new photo radar machines in service by the fall.
Quebec hopes to have 50 new photo radar machines in service by the fall. (Radio-Canada)

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New photo radar zones for Montreal, Laval, Quebec City and the South Shore

The province is upping its game to crack down on motorists who speed and run red lights.

There are 15 new photo radar zones on Quebec roads as of Thursday just as construction season hits its peak.

Revenue from photo radars is on the rise in Quebec.
Revenue from photo radars: 2008-2009: 0 2009-2010: $7.3 million 2010-2011: $8.9 million 2011-2012: $8.2 million 2012-2013: $10.3 million 2013-2014: $15.4 million 2014-2015: $??.? million. Revenue from photo radars is on the rise in Quebec. photo by Peter McCabe / Montreal Gazette

Transport Québec spokesperson Nomba Danielle said some of the radars are in places where police are not always there to enforce the law. Some are placed at intersections and others will monitor construction zones.

“We need these photo radars because we have to ensure road safety,” Danielle said.

Montreal, Laval, Quebec City and the South Shore will each get two new machines.

Quebec hopes to have 50 new photo radar machines in service by the fall.

New photo radar zones in Montreal

  • Highway 138 East between the Mercier Bridge and Highway 20
  • Berri Street at the intersection of Henri-Bourassa Boulevard

Transport Québec has the full list on its website.

Ontario: Offers Gender-Neutral Driver’s Licences and Health Cards

Update:

Stained Glass Ceiling of Queen's Park. ServiceOntario offices will begin issuing gender neutral driver's licences next year.
Stained Glass Ceiling of Queen’s Park. ServiceOntario offices will begin issuing gender neutral driver’s licences next year.

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Province already issuing health cards that no longer display information about a person’s sex

Ontario is introducing gender-neutral driver’s licences and health cards.

Beginning in early 2017, drivers will be able to select X, instead of an M for male or F for female, for their licences.

This month the province started issuing health cards that no longer display information about a person’s sex on the front of the card.

Those who want a new health card without the sex identifier before their regular renewal date can obtain one immediately through ServiceOntario at no cost.

The Liberal government said it is making the changes “to ensure the fair, ethical and equitable treatment of people with trans and non-binary gender identity.”

Ontario will also launch public consultations this summer to develop policies on how the government collects, uses and displays sex and gender information on government forms and products.

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.

Mr. Rajneesh Dutta Violates Server’s Ontario Human Rights

Update:

As a result of his ignorance, drinking habits, offensive and inappropriate behaviour, and his unbelievable testimony in front of the Human Rights Tribunal, Mr. Rajneesh Dutta (co-owner of the Houston Avenue Bar & Grill in Barrie) he was found guilty of violating an employee's Human Rights and ordered to pay $20,000 in damages and interest on top and $9,440.52 in lost wages and interest on top.
As a result of his ignorance, drinking habits, offensive and inappropriate behaviour, and his unbelievable testimony in front of the Human Rights Tribunal, Mr. Rajneesh Dutta (co-owner of the Houston Avenue Bar & Grill in Barrie) he was found guilty of violating an employee’s Human Rights and ordered to pay $20,000 in compensation for injury to her dignity, feelings and self-respect and $9,440.52 in lost wages, as well as interest on both amounts. photo by fightyourtickets.ca.

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It never ceases to amaze, the bosses who think their female employees are there to be handled like some ripe peach. But she wouldn’t stand for it.

And now a bar owner’s drunken groping of his head server has cost him and his company almost $30,000.

MARK?WANZEL PhotoBarrie's newest restaurant, the Houston Avenue Bar, located on Bayfield Street North, celebrated its official opening night with a big party Wednesday.
The Houston Avenue Bar & Grill in Barrie on its opening night on June 13, 2102. Photo by Mark Wanzel of the Barrie Examiner.

“I am standing for all people who have been sexually harassed or assaulted,” explains De Anna Granés, 33. “I’m speaking up for those who were too afraid come forward.”

Granés worked at Houston Avenue Bar & Grill in Barrie to save for her nursing education. She was good at her job and enjoyed working there. That changed dramatically on Feb. 1, 2014.

A decision from the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario released this month details that night.

De Anna Granés, 33

Co-owner Rajneesh Dutta was sitting at the bar at the start of her 5 p.m. shift and announced that he was going to try every drink on the cocktail menu, Granés told the tribunal. She gently advised her boss that it wasn’t a great idea. As the night progressed, she realized he hadn’t taken her advice.

Dutta was slurring his words, swaying and incoherent, she testified. But worse, he became increasingly “all over her.”

“My back was turned,” she testified, “(he) came up beside me, put his arm on my arm and grabbed my right boob – (it) wasn’t a graze”.

While Granés was using the computer, she told the tribunal that Dutta came up behind her and started pawing her arms, thighs and stomach. She moved to another computer. He followed her around telling her, “At the end of the night we are going to have our own party” and “I want to take you home.”

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/custom_covers/216x146/390757773857526637_1347390124.jpg
Two servers at the Houston Avenue Bar & Grill, Barrie on opening night on June 13, 2012.

Granes asked him to stop.

While serving a large party in the lounge, he came up behind her. “He was feeling me, his hands on my thighs, (I) felt embarrassed because I saw people watching,” she testified. “I pushed him aside and walked away.”

He still didn’t get the message.

When Granés went to drop off dishes in the back of the restaurant, she testified that Dutta grabbed her, whispered in her ear and tried to kiss her. She told him to stop.

At the end of the night, when it looked like he was going to drive drunk, she told the tribunal that she grabbed his keys. Dutta pushed her against the wall and grabbed her wrist, she said, while she repeatedly told him he was hurting her. The struggle ended when she threw the keys to a colleague behind him.

Another waitress confirmed to the tribunal Dutta “was drunk, and touchy feely – he put his arms around me, caused me discomfort” but she didn’t think it was a big deal.

“I’ve had a lot worse happen to me,” she later told Granés in a text.

Which is sad in itself.

Toronto’s Houston Avenue Bar & Grill opened up at 33 Yonge Street, Toronto.

Granés, for her part, could not brush it off. She was so distraught that she couldn’t drive home and when she returned to work the next day, she had a panic attack and had to leave. She told her father about what happened and they called Barrie Police.

But it was her word against his and no charges were laid. According to the officer who testified at the hearing, Dutta told him he was ashamed of being drunk and unprofessional and pledged not to drink at work again.

Dutta, however, insisted the cop was lying, nothing happened and “he did not have a drop of alcohol” that night. Adjudicator Josée Bouchard said she didn’t find him credible.

When Granés returned to work on Feb. 10, Dutta and the other co-owner asked to speak to her. “We just want to move forward,” she said they told her, “so we want you to put on that pretty little smile of yours and do your job.”

Boors to the end.

Granés quit and after much consideration launched her human rights complaint.

“I’m taking back what’s mine. I’m taking back control of My body and My basic human rights to make My own decisions regarding my body,” she explained in an email. “I’m taking back My happiness.”

And good for her. The tribunal awarded her $20,000 in compensation for injury to her dignity, feelings and self-respect and $9,440 for lost wages. “When I saw the decision,” she said, “I was at peace.”

As for the restaurant, it closed its doors more than a year ago.

Cover photo. Links to Human Rights 101 (2014 ed.)
Introduction to human rights and responsibilities under the Ontario Human Rights Code (revised 2014).

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)