While in Toronto at the Supershow, I had the opportunity to find out more on Bill 117 and the potential ramifications for all touring and cruising riders in North America let alone Canada or Ontario.
Bill 117 is a very poorly researched and written piece of legislation that was introduced by Ontario MPP Helen Jaczek but has successfully passed second reading and has moved on to the committee stage.
In many interviews Ms. Jaczek states that according to the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario from 1995 to 2005 that there were 199 accidents involving children 14 and under and yet, nowhere do those statistics appear on the MTO web site (I was looking for the break down as to types of accidents – none are available according to the MTO).
I have contacted her (Jaczek's) office and am waiting for their data.
I have contacted Smartrisk whose statistics she is also quotes and nowhere do they have the types of injuries, the kind of motorcycle that these injuries occurred on.
After speaking to Pam Farmer at Smartrisk with regards to the quality of information available: IE highway use only or types of accidents, she stated that their data does not go into that kind of depth. You can find the information that Ms. Jaczek used for her statistical back up at the bottom of this article.
Not only that, but the statistics quoted are for RIDERS not Passengers.
As I said, the following proposed legislation known as Bill 117 has no well-researched data to back up its veracity or need, the highway traffic act of Ontario already states that a passenger must be able to rest their feet on the foot pegs.
1. The Highway Traffic Act is amended by adding the following section:
Prohibition of passengers under 14 years old on motorcycles
38.1 No person shall drive or operate a motorcycle on a highway if another person under the age of 14 years is a passenger on the motorcycle.
2. This Act comes into force on the day it receives Royal Assent.
3. The short title of this Act is the Highway Traffic Amendment Act (Child Passengers on Motorcycles), 2008.
The Bill amends the Highway Traffic Act to prohibit driving or operating a motorcycle on a highway while a person under the age of 14 is a passenger on the motorcycle, with a view to promoting safety on Ontario's roads and protecting youth from preventable injuries.
Regulation 596, subsection 10(3) of Ontario's Highway Traffic Act states: "A person who is a passenger on a motorcycle operated on a highway and who is occupying the seat referred to in clause (2) (b) shall sit astride the seat in such a manner that his or her feet are placed upon the foot rests referred to in clause (2) (b)."
The way this proposed legislation is written, should you as a parent want to have your child accompany you on your motorcycle and want to travel through Ontario to get to another Canadian destination, you would not be allowed to. You would need to drop down through the USA and avoid Ontario completely.
This proposed legislation also affects riders from right across the country in another way. If allowed to pass, you can bet that someone in the province you live in that does not like motorcycles as a mode of transportation will eventually propose similar legislation in your province and you would have the same fight for your right to decide as parents what activities and recreations your children are allowed to participate in.
The right to decide what risks you as a parent deem acceptable for your child have the potential of being taken away. What’s next? Hockey? Rugby, football, ball hockey, soccer? How about your right to have your child be a passenger in your vehicle? The right for you as a parent to have your child participate in any recreational sport or past time is at risk.
Ill formed laws are allowed to pass in this country far too often as we; the silent majority do nothing but complain. If you want the right as a parent to decide what risks are acceptable to you as a parent, then I recommend that you write to MPP Jaczek and voice your concerns as a rider and tourist.
At the very least, we will let our brothers and sisters who live and ride in Ontario know we are behind them and we will have educated ourselves about a potential law that can adversely affect our community and lifestyle.
MPP (Oak Ridges-Markham)
135 Main St. N., Ste. 201
Markham ON L3P 1Y2
RESOURCES: Document downloads
(The top 3 documents in this list are from Smartrisk the organization that Jaczek quotes so often)
Motorcycle Data (.xls Download)
Motorcycle Age Breakdown (.xls Download)
Ontario Motorcycle Injury data (.pdf Download)