A VRU law is simple: you hit a pedestrian, cyclist, or person on a mobility device, you face extra penalties. Here is one option city council and councilors should seriously consider.
Firstly, before even embarking on this issue, I want to express extreme concern that no steps have been made to bring in Vulnerable Road User Laws (VRUL) in Ontario. A request has been made and supported by the City of Toronto, Cycle TO, Friends and Families for Safe Streets, Walk To, United Senior Citizens of Ontario, TBN, ARC, Bike Law Canada and many others. This is a shame. A VRU law is simple: you hit a pedestrian, cyclist, or person on a mobility device, you face extra penalties. They include community service, license suspension, and a requirement to take a road safety course.
VRU laws are under the provincial authority. However I was asked whether there was anything the city or other municipalities could do until VRUL’s are passed. Here is one option city council and councilors should seriously consider, it is not a solution but it will at least put an added deterrence on those that speed.
Under section 214 of the Highway Traffic Act there is a provision that allows a municipality to pass a bylaw to declare a road to be a “community safety zone.”
The bylaw can be passed if “in the council’s opinion, public safety is of special concern.” The provision allows the standard fines to be doubled and signs to be erected declaring the area a community safety zone. Of course this not a solution but at least it is something that can be easily passed until we get better infrastructure and the province passes VRUL.
So in the last 17 years how many “zones” have been declared “community safety zones” in Toronto? Next to none, here is the list:
I would propose the following bylaw:
Whereas public safety is of special concern, be it resolved that all roadways in the City of Toronto, with the exception of expressways, be designated “Community Safety Zones.”
Patrick, of Bike Law Canada, is one of the founding members of the Toronto Bike Union (now CycleToronto), and is a former director. He is a proud contributor to Advocacy Respect for Cyclists [ARC] who have defended cyclist rights since 1996. He and his firm, McLeish Orlando LLP hold the annual Helmets on Kids Campaign in Toronto and sponsor CycleToronto’s annual “Get Lit” program and the City’s Bike Month. In 2013, the firm was awarded the Bicycle Friendly Business Award by the City for promoting cycling in and outside the office.