ICBC’s top tips to help keep kids safe on summer break

With B.C. school children and teens starting their summer break from school this week, ICBC is asking drivers to be especially alert this season, particularly near playgrounds and around youth walking or riding their bikes.

Every year in B.C., five pedestrians aged five to 18 die and 250 are injured in crashes involving a vehicle. A young cyclist dies every year in B.C. and another 120 young cyclists are injured in crashes involving a vehicle.*

Tips for drivers:

  • Playground speed limits are year-round: With longer summer days, drivers should remember that the 30km/hr speed limit is from dawn to dusk, every day.

  • Summer school speed limits are in effect: For schools that hold summer classes, the school zone speed limit of 30 km/hr is in effect from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on school days. School zone signs will indicate if a school is holding summer sessions.

  • Wait at crosswalks: Parents and their young children may need more time when crossing the street. Don’t pass any car waiting at a crosswalk as they may be stopped for those crossing the street. Wait for pedestrians to get to the other side of the street before resuming your travel.

  • Slow down on residential streets: Expect the unexpected when children are at play, including the possibility of a teen running to catch an errant ball or a child running out from between parked cars. Slow down and be prepared to stop suddenly.

  • Be patient with younger cyclists: Leave plenty of room between your car and young cyclists, in particular. Shoulder check for cyclists before turning right and watch for oncoming cyclists before turning left.

  • Distracted walkers: Be aware of pedestrians around you, especially for teens who are wearing headphones or using their cell phones while walking, as they not be paying close attention to the road.

Tips for parents:

  • Review safety rules: Review road safety rules with your children and practice how to use crosswalks safely. Set limits to where they can walk alone and where they must be accompanied by an adult.

  • Accompany young children: Children under 10 should always be accompanied by an adult when crossing a street or walking close to the road.

  • Safe outdoor play areas: Establish safe play areas around your home for younger children, such as your backyard. Supervise your children or assign an older child to be in charge. Teach your child that the road is never a safe place to play, even if their toy rolls into the street or a driveway.

  • Demonstrate good walking habits: Practice good walking habits that keep you and your family safe. Teach your child to stand a few steps from the curb while waiting at a crosswalk. Instruct your child to always use a crosswalk, and that jaywalking is never OK.

  • Distracted walking: Remind your teen to be aware of their surroundings when walking. Looking at their cell phone or wearing headphones can prevent them from noticing oncoming cars and other hazards.

  • Cycling safety: Teach safe cycling behaviour to your children such as cycling in a straight line, performing hand signals and shoulder checking. Outfit their bike with a bell, lights and reflective materials. Children should wear bright, reflective clothing so they can be seen in the dark.
  • Head safety: Make wearing a helmet a rule for your child if they want to use their bike, skateboard or rollerblades.

Additional statistics:

Youth pedestrians:

  • Every year, 180 children are injured in crashes in the Lower Mainland.

  • Every year, 33 children are injured in crashes in the Vancouver Island.

  • Every year, 25 children are injured in crashes in the Southern Interior.

  • Every year, 10 children are injured in crashes in the North Central region.

Youth cyclists:

  • Every year, 73 children are injured in crashes in the Lower Mainland.

  • Every year, 22 children are injured in crashes each year on Vancouver Island.

  • Every year, 18 children are injured in crashes in the Southern Interior.

  • Every year, six children are injured in crashes in the North Central region.

*Notes: ICBC crash and injury data used (2011 to 2015). Annual average province-wide. Youth defined as aged five to 18.

** ICBC crash and injury data used (2011to 2015). Annual average per region. Youth defined as aged five to 18.

Longboard rider faces legal battle after $598 ticket for using electric board

A Vancouver man has pulled the plug on his electric skateboard after receiving a $598 ticket the first time he took it out on the street.

Daniel Dahlberg said he was riding the longboard, marketed as a Boosted Board, on Friday, June 9, 2017 down a hill in Vancouver’s Kitsilano neighbourhood when he was pulled over by police.

The board can be used as a normal skateboard but also has a battery attached to the bottom, giving the wheels enough torque to push a rider up a steep hill.

Dahlberg said he hadn’t even engaged the battery yet, but his maiden voyage was also the first time he learned from a police officer that riders need insurance.

“I asked him, I had no idea, how do I get insurance, and he told me that there isn’t any to purchase, it doesn’t exist,” Dahlberg said.

“I kinda stared at him. I was trying to think of a way to respond to that because it doesn’t make any sense to me, and then he hands me a $598 ticket.

“Not once was I warned about this or did I read about this.”

Dahlberg has filed notice that he intends to dispute the ticket and said he had already received offers of support after posting about his predicament online.

“I’ve had a lot of attention from that and a lot of people reaching out to me with advice, retired B.C. lawyers who are interested in offering me advice,” he said.

The local boarding community was also rallying, Dahlberg said.

Online checks show the boards sell in shops in Vancouver for more than $2,100 and Dahlberg said the store where his board was purchased has been selling them for at least two years.

But Dahlberg said his board isn’t rolling anywhere, anymore.

“Luckily the manufacturer of the board has a 30-day return policy. So I have already been in touch with them and I’ll be sending back my board for the time being because I don’t really see a reason to use it if I’ll get another fine like this,” he said.

“And then I’ll contest the ticket in court.”

The court process is just beginning and Dahlberg said he didn’t know when the matter might be heard.

 

Drug Screening Device Pilot Project receives positive reviews from police

Public Safety Canada:

Participating police officers were able to successfully use oral fluid drug screening devices in various conditions across Canada.

Results from the oral fluid drug screening device pilot project suggest the devices can be successfully used in Canada to identify drivers who test positive for certain drugs, and can provide another tool for law enforcement to detect and deter drug-impaired driving.

While drivers can currently be tested for impairment by Drug Recognition Experts (DRE) and Standard Field Sobriety Testing (SFST), Public Safety Canada, in collaboration with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA), led the pilot project to test the use of oral fluid drug screening devices as an additional tool for detecting drug-impaired drivers.

Police officers from seven jurisdictions across Canada collected over 1,140 samples between December 18, 2016 and March 6, 2017. Feedback from officers involved in the pilot project was largely positive. Officers reported that the devices were easy to use at the roadside with some standard operating procedures. They also said they were able to successfully use them in various weather, temperature and lighting conditions. The officers also noted their comfort and confidence increased the longer they used the devices, and they were able to adapt and trouble-shoot problems encountered at the roadside.

The pilot project is an excellent example of a successful federal partnership with provinces, territories and police forces across Canada. The report includes key recommendations such as developing a list of standards for device functionality, as well as standard operating procedures at the roadside, and development of core training for police forces.

Farmers decry Trump plans to cut agriculture subsidies

Farm groups and some members of Congress from farm states are decrying proposed cuts to crop insurance and other safety net programs for farmers included in President Donald Trump’s budget.

The proposed cuts come even as farmers are facing their fourth straight year of falling income, and could particularly affect farm states such as Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska that helped Trump win the November election.

“Clearly, this budget fails agriculture and rural America,” American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said in a statement.

The proposed budget would cap the amount of money the U.S. government provides to help farmers pay insurance premiums and eliminate insurance coverage for lost revenue when crop prices and per-acre yields fall. That would reduce the federal insurance program’s budget by $28 billion over 10 years.

Trump has also proposed reducing subsidies to farmers, cutting those programs by $9 billion by decreasing the maximum income level from $900,000 to $500,000 for a farmer to be eligible. The budget would also cut 5,263 jobs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a 5.5 per cent reduction in staff.

Farmers, economists and agriculture experts say it is important to support the agriculture sector, which makes up about 11 per cent of U.S. employment, or about 21 million jobs, and contributes nearly $1 trillion to the nation’s domestic productivity.

“The strength of the agricultural economy has implications for rural America, but also for the larger U.S. economy,” Robert Johansson, the USDA’s chief economist, told senators last month.

Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow, the leading Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee, warned that the proposed cuts “would have a disproportionate impact on small towns across our country and leave those communities in crisis.”

But some people say there’s no need for farmers to worry just yet.

“What I’ve been telling farmers is let’s just relax a bit before we panic. It’s going to be hard for Trump to get anything done. That’s become really obvious,” said Brent Gloy, a former Purdue University agriculture economist who now works full-time on his family’s corn, soybean and wheat farm in southwest Nebraska, where Trump had strong support.

Indeed, Republican U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, who owns a farm in Iowa and is a member of the agriculture and budget committees, doesn’t expect the crop insurance cuts to make it through Congress. Grassley considers Trump’s budget a non-starter, much like the budget proposals of Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, who also suggested farm program cuts that never materialized.

“Most budgets are dead on arrival,” Grassley said during a recent conference call with reporters. “I don’t say that to be negative about any of the three presidents I’ve said it about.”

Farmer Harold Wolle, who lives in a Minnesota county where 55 per cent of voters chose Trump, makes the same point and says it’s too early in the process for Trump supporters to be disappointed.

“We’re fortunate that Congress writes the budget, not the executive branch,” said Wolle, who is president of the Minnesota Corn Growers Association.

Subsidies for crops and crop insurance have sustained grain farmers in recent years as prices plummeted for wheat, corn and soybeans thanks to favourable weather that boosted harvests. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported in February net farm income is expected to fall 8.7 per cent this year to $62.3 billion, half of the $123.7 billion income posted in 2013.

The Trump administration says the proposed cuts help fulfil a campaign promise to balance the federal budget.

“I believe the people knew what they were doing when they elected President Trump president,” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in conference call with Iowa reporters. “I see it as an opportunity to demonstrate to the American people we can do more with less and we will do more with less. We’re going to be winning in the end.”

Iowa farmer Chris Petersen, who voted for Hillary Clinton in November after supporting Bernie Sanders for the Democratic nomination, actually supports some cuts to farm subsidies, saying they promote the overproduction of certain crops.

“I believe in protecting agriculture and farms of all sizes up to a certain size. It’s a national food security issue,” said Petersen, who raises hogs, cattle and vegetables, which he sells to local residents and restaurants. “But it comes to a certain point where it’s just on steroids basically and there needs to be more management.”

At the same time, he says Trump supporters from depressed rural areas who thought they were electing someone who would help them should have known better.

“You get what you voted for,” he said. “People better be thinking about rural economies, the rural people, jobs, stability and changing things around so it works better for rural. A lot of people didn’t think this out too good.”

 

Why you probably need renters insurance

Yahoo Finance’

Did you know that if there’s a fire in your apartment or building, your landlord’s insurance likely won’t pay for your property losses? Same goes if someone swipes your stuff. So how can you protect yourself financially? Easy. Renters insurance.

This coverage usually compensates you if your belongings in your apartment or rental home are unexpectedly damaged, stolen or ruined. Plans can also cover costs incurred if someone gets injured in your apartment and then sues you.

You might think such gloom-and-doom scenarios are so unlikely that you don’t need renters insurance. But chances are, it’s worth it. The average policy costs about $16 a month and will cover most everything in your apartment—your clothes, electronics, furniture and more.

The best way to figure out how much coverage you need it is to do a little math. Make a list of all your belongings—clothing, artwork, instruments, sporting equipment, devices, etc. Then tally up how much you’d have to pay to replace them all; that’s the level of coverage you need.

Keep in mind, however, that it’s not always wise to file a claim. Most plans will make you pay a deductible, or a pre-arranged amount of the bill. Think about how much the cost of your insurance might increase if you file a claim. Does it outweigh the cost of just replacing the item on your own?

Many renters insurance plans will also help cover the cost of living expenses—such as hotel bills and food expenses—if long-term repairs need to be done.

But every insurance policy is different. There are events that most renters insurance policies don’t cover, including floods, earthquakes and other “acts of God.” (That’s actually the term insurance companies use.)

These things can be covered, but companies typically charge an extra premium for them. Make sure you check your policy for specific details.

A 2014 study showed more than half of young renters don’t have renters insurance. Don’t be one of them. Paying a little bit each month can save you thousands of dollars in the event of a major catastrophe.

New Online Tool to Help Canadian Farmers Manage Risk

Flooding, pests, disease and other extreme weather events are constant risks to the businesses and livelihoods of farmers. The Government of Canada is committed to working with industry partners to explore and develop new risk management tools that meets the needs of Canadian farmers when faced with serious challenges beyond their control.

Member of Parliament, Francis Drouin, today announced a $786,921 investment for Farm Management Canada to develop a new online agricultural risk management tool called “AgriShield”. This online tool will help farmers have real-time assessments of the potential negative impact of risks to their businesses and provide mitigation solutions. For instance, if an overland flood situation is imminent, the tool can help farmers to assess the degree of risk they face and potential mitigation measures that they can adopt, such as tile draining or insurance coverage.

This investment is being made through Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s AgriRisk Initiatives (ARI) which supports the research and development, as well as the implementation and administration of new risk management tools for use in the agriculture sector.

Quotes

“Canadian farmers face risk every day and it is essential they have the necessary tools to better understand and manage risk. The recent flooding in Eastern Ontario and Quebec, for example, shows the need to help farmers more effectively manage risk, so that they can be stronger, more innovative and more competitive.”
– Francis Drouin, Member of Parliament for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell

“Less than 1/3 of Canada’s farmers have a risk management plan. Our ultimate goal is to increase the awareness and adoption of risk management practices and planning as part of the farm management process and cultivate a more comprehensive understanding and approach to assessing and managing risk within the agricultural sector.”
– Heather Watson, Executive Director Farm Management Canada

Quick facts

  • Farm Management Canada (FMC) is a national organization dedicated exclusively to providing leading edge resources to enable Canadian producers to make sound management decisions.
  • The online tool covers all areas of potential risk faced by agricultural businesses, gathering data that will enable farmers, commodity groups and the agriculture sector to establish benchmarks for improved risk management performance.
  • Project partners include the Canadian Federation of Agriculture and the consulting firm Meyers Norris Penny.
  • AgriRisk Initiatives is a Growing Forward 2, Business Risk Management program.

Additional links

Follow us on Twitter: @AAFC_Canada
Like us on Facebook: CanadianAgriculture

 

SOURCE Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

For further information: Guy Gallant, Director of Communications, Office of the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, 613-773-1059; Media Relations, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, 613-773-7972, 1-866-345-7972; Heather Watson, Executive Director, Farm Management Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Telephone: 1-888-232-3262 Fax: 1-800-270-8301, Email: heather.watson@fmc-gac.com, www.FMC-GAC.com

RELATED LINKS
www.agr.gc.ca
https://www.canada.ca

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