Bikers Rights Organization (Ontario) Inc.
PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO THE HIGHWAY TRAFFIC ACT
There currently exists an injustice in Ontario. A driver stopped at a RIDE program and found to be over the limit, loses their license for an immediate 60 days, without a trial or conviction, and then upon a conviction, loses their license for a further year, pays a minimum of a $500 fine and after reinstatement of license must pay to have a breathalyzer device installed and maintained in their vehicle for a further year.
We now also have a new speeding infraction, renamed as “stunt driving” when the limit is exceeded by 50 km. this offence involves a $2000 fine and immediate confiscation of the vehicle for a week.
Use a false CVOR certificate and the penalty is $5000, a false drivers license is worth $50,000, and running a stop sign is now $1000.
Compare those penalties to a driver who makes an unsafe turn in front of a motorcycle and kills both riders. That driver will receive a $500 fine only.
The first person pays a comparatively large penalty because they have the potential to do harm, but a person who actually kills cannot receive anything more substantial than a $500 fine.
This is wrong.
In July of 2002, William James Duff turned left in between three motorcycles on Highway 17 near Batchewana, Ontario. The resultant collision immediately claimed the lives of David and Wanda Harrison. Mr. Duff was convicted of unsafe turn and received the maximum penalty allowed under the Highway Traffic Act, that is, a $500 fine.
We feel this was unjust, but it was all that was permitted under law. There are some who believe the highway traffic act is just fine the way it is, including previous Ministers of Transportation. When viewed in the above light, however, this is obviously not the case.
Many of the charges under the HTA do not have a specific penalty applied. This is true for left turn charges among others. Instead, the HTA has section 214, which is referred to as general penalties. It is the catchall clause for the penalty for any charge under the act that does not already have a specific penalty applied.
THE PROPOSED SOLUTION:
We wish to change the Highway Traffic Act to either amend section 214, which is the general penalty clause to provide for a more stringent penalty when a death occurs, or create a new offence and penalty as was tabled in former bill 154.
We need to amend the highway traffic act to add:
214. (1) Every person who contravenes this Act or any regulation is guilty of an offence and on conviction, where a penalty for the contravention is not otherwise provided for herein,
(a) is liable to a fine of not less than $60 and not more than $500 or,
(b) is liable to a fine of not less than $500 and not more than $5000, and/or incarceration not less than 3 months and not more than 12 months, and/or suspension of drivers license for 12 months, said suspension to start upon release from incarceration, if any, and not be concurrent with incarceration, where it has been determined that the contravention resulted in a fatality or serious debilitating/maiming injury.
Or a new clause, from former bill 154:
Contravention causing death or serious bodily harm
191.0.2 (1) Every person who, while contravening this Act or the regulations, causes, or
contributes to causing, an accident that causes the death of a person or serious bodily harm to a person is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine of not less than $500 and not more than $5,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than twelve months, or both, and in addition his or her license or permit may be suspended for a period of up to twelve months.
Increased suspension time
(2) If the court sentencing the offender under subsection (1) orders the imprisonment of the
offender and the suspension of his or her license or permit, the suspension is increased by the
period of imprisonment.
With this amendment in place, there should be a more just penalty for those who violate the right of way of the more vulnerable segments of the motoring public, and for those who by their actions, cause accidents which claim lives. Note that the amendment we propose does not just apply to motorcyclists being killed but applies to anyone! Justice for Ontario Riders
Highway Traffic Act Amendment
Since 2002 our Organization has written, phoned, and petitioned the Government of Ontario to provide stiffer penalties for drivers who cause death or serious injury as a result of a highway traffic act infraction, such as left turns and fail to yield offences.
As you, a motorcyclist, are very likely aware of, we are most vulnerable to drivers who “don’t see us” and turn left in front of us. Since 2002 and up to 2014, 330 motorcyclists have died through no fault of their own, in Ontario. In 2016 the OPP reported that 54.8% of motorcyclists killed within their jurisdictions did nothing wrong.
Since 2002, our concerns for the most part, have been ignored. We have received nothing but replies dismissive of our legitimate concerns, from the sitting government.
Our only bright light in this battle has been as follows:
MPP Wayne Gates, Niagara, tabled a private members bill in late 2015, to incorporate all that we wanted for penalties. Those who cause death or serious injury in a traffic accident, deserve more than a $500 fine, and his bill would have provided justice to accident victims and their families in Ontario.
That bill was bill 154. Unfortunately, in mid 2016, Kathleen Wynne prorogued Parliament, and all bills died on the order table. Bill 154 has not yet been re-introduced, and since we are now in election mode essentially, the chance of it being introduced are slim.
When that bill was introduced, all parties that spoke on the bill were favourable to the bill, and all parties agreed that the bill needed to go to the Committee on the Legislative Assembly.
The link below takes you to a contact list for all MPP's in Ontario.
We can win this for us all. Send a letter or email, and call your MPP to follow up. We have attached a sample letter that you can use in any way you wish to express the need for justice. If you would please forward any replies your MPP gives you, back to the undersigned, it would be greatly appreciated.
Bikers Rights Organization
Provincial Government Liaison
705 649 3316
Copies of Salutations and a sample letter are below for your reference.
Correct Salutations for Members of Prov. Gov’ts
PROVINCIAL -- ELECTED OFFICIALS
Provincial Premier: (e.g) Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario
Address: The Honourable Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario
Salutation: Dear Premier or Dear Premier Ford
Conversation: Ms. Premier or Mr.Ford
Address: The Honourable Jane Doe, Minister of ____________
Salutation: Dear Minister or Dear Ms. Doe
Conversation: Ms. Minister or Ms. Doe
Members of the Provincial Parliament (MPP) as they are called in Ontario or
Members of the Provincial Legislature (MLA) in all provinces except Québec (MNA) &
Newfoundland and Labrador (MHA)
Address: Ms. Jane Doe, MPP or MLA
Salutation: Dear Ms. Doe
Conversation: Ms. Doe
Draft letter for use in contacting your MPP, please edit as you see fit, to make it personal
Dear xxxxx, MPP
I am writing to you to express my concern that not enough interest exists within the sitting legislature to actually provide justice to the motorcyclists and other vulnerable road users in Ontario, who die as the result of an error by another driver.
Since 2002, the Bikers Rights Organization, of which I am a member, has attempted to convince MPP's and the sitting government that more stringent penalties are required for those who cause death or serious injury due to a violation of the highway traffic act. Most deaths are not the result of serious infractions, and therein lies the issue. Serious infractions carry more appropriate penalties, however, a car turning left in front of a motorcycle and killing both occupants of the bike will normally only receive a $500 fine, due to their fail to yield infraction. This is unfortunately far too typical.
Between 2002 and 2014, a calculated 330 motorcyclists lost their lives on Ontario roads through no fault of their own.
The police cannot lay a more serious charge in many circumstances, as all charges laid must be supported by evidence. If the evidence does not exist to support a more serious charge, there is no chance for conviction if such a charge is laid.
The closest we have gotten to obtaining justice for all road users, was with NDP private members bill 154, which died when parliament was prorogued.
I need to know what steps you would take to address this situation, or what support you would give to our endeavor to obtain justice. Please keep in mind that we, the citizens of Ontario will soon be considering who to vote for in the forthcoming provincial elections.