On September 1, 2015 a number of new fines came into effect that relate to cycling. We’re listing below all of the changes to Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act that relate to cycling and that are now in effect. Some of the changes are housekeeping – like allowing bicycles to travel on paved shoulders and have flashing red lights on the back of the bike – but most will require some changes in behaviour, for both motor vehicle drivers as well as people riding bikes.
Dooring: Dooring is not a huge issue in Greater Sudbury, but with more and more cyclists on the road, drivers need to be aware that they can severally injure a cyclist if they suddenly open their door and hit a person on a bike. The increased set fine is now $365, but could jump up to $1000. The offence carries a penalty of three demerit points. Drivers can also be charged for dooring another vehicle.
Passing: When passing a person on a bike, the driver of a motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle must maintain a distance of at least one metre, as nearly as practicable, between the vehicle and bicycle and must maintain that distance until they are safely past the bicycle. The one metre distance refers to the distance between the extreme right side of the motor vehicle and the extreme left side of the bicycle, including all projections and attachments.The penalty is $110 and two demerit points. Do this in a community safety zone, and the fine goes up to $180. Because people on bikes are usually riding about 1 meter from the curb or side of the road, as recommended by the Ministry of Transportation, that means that on most high-traffic roads in Greater Sudbury, car and truck drivers must move at least partially into the adjoining lane.
There has been some discussion in regards to what the “as nearly as practicable” means. The law has been interpreted in the following on the Ministry of Transportation’s Bicycle Safety website:
Q3: What if there isn’t enough room to allow for a one-metre passing distance? Can a vehicle cross the centre median line to pass the cyclist? A motorist may, if done safely, and in compliance with the rules of the road, cross the centre line of a roadway in order to pass a cyclist. If this cannot be done, he or she must wait behind the cyclist until it is safe to pass.
Lights: Cyclists are now facing costly charges if they don’t properly light their bikes. At nighttime, 1/2 hour before dusk and 1/2 after dawn, and when there is insufficient light to see 150 meters in front, bicycles must have a lit white or amber light on the front, and a lit red light or reflector on the rear, along with white reflective tape on their front spokes and red reflective tape on the back spokes. The fine for not doing so has risen from $20 to $110. Cyclists are now permitted the use of flashing red lights as a safety feature on bicycles, which was previously prohibited. The flashing red light may be in addition to or instead of the red light or reflector on their rear that is currently required.
Riding on paved shoulders: Cyclists are now allowed to use the paved shoulders on unrestricted provincial highways instead of riding in the main lanes. The restricted highways are those included in regulation 630 and listed in http://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/900630.
Riding in crosswalks: This one may be a bit confusing at first. Cyclists are permitted to ride a bike along any crosswalk at any location. They cannot ride within a crosswalk at any intersection or at a location that’s not an intersection and that has a traffic control system. But they can ride within a crosswalk at a location other than an intersection, that doesn’t have a traffic control signal system. A traffic control system has no less than 3 coloured lenses and also includes a bicycle control signal.
Bicycle traffic control systems (lights): In locations where there are both bicycle traffic control signals and regular traffic control signals, people on bikes are required to obey the bicycle traffic control signals.
Cycling the wrong way on one way streets: municipalities can now designate a bicycle lane on one-way streets that goes in the opposite direction from the motorized traffic.