And they have hit them hard. The new set of rules is definitely an improvement for road safety, but one thing that’s for sure is that the new rules will cost many drivers dearly.
The way these new laws are going to reflect on our lives is twofold. First, on the very basic level, drivers caught not following them will be fined. Second, those new rules will pit the balance in insurance claims and car accident disputes in situations where those rules were not observed. One particular possibility comes to mind where potentially contradicting bike safety rules are involved, and we are still not sure which way it may go.
Particularly, the rule that punishes opening a car door suddenly into the path of a cyclist, and the rule that demands cyclists to properly light their bikes. As personal injury lawyers, we can expect many claims to emerge where a car driver will claim to not see the cyclist because of the bike not having its lights on. It will be an obvious case if the accident occurred after dark, but there is (literally) a gray area of twilight hours when such a claim can be made despite the fact that visibility is still not really hampered by lack of daylight.
Of course, our advice is to always check the road before opening your car door, and making sure your bike has functioning lights at all times, but the world is not a perfect place and accidents do happen.
Another big update is the new Distracted Driving Law. Any type of distracted driving – which has, admittedly, been a huge point of contestation in Ontario and has claimed over 40 lives this year already – is going to land a hefty $490 fine on your lap, and cost your license 3 demerit points on top of that. Novice drivers will also face a 30 day license suspension in addition.
Two other new rules instruct extra caution when passing a stopped tow truck and when crossing an intersection. If there are pedestrians still on the road (even if they are three lanes away and walking in the opposite direction), a driver is prohibited to move ahead.
This one is questionable to many drivers, since if this rule is followed strictly, then it poses a problem. Imagine a busy Queen and Spadina intersection in Toronto and a driver trying to make a right turn. The pedestrian crossing is 8 lanes wide and there is always someone on it. This means that making the turn will almost indefinitely involve breaking this rule, unless you are turning on a red light, while the pedestrian traffic is not moving.
As experienced Ontario car accident lawyers, we fully expect this new Ontario driving law to bring very interesting cases in courts, and cause no small amount of confusion.
To summarize, this is going to take some time adjusting to and while the adjusting is taking place, it sure will be interesting to observe. Stay with us for more updates on Ontario Driving Laws and other news!