The Difficulty With Stop Signs

Stop LineOne wouldn’t think that stopping at a stop sign would be such a problem for drivers. It seems relatively simple, come to a complete stop, look both ways and then go if it is safe to do so. With the poor compliance rate, we should ask is the stop sign the best form of traffic control for intersections that are not controlled by traffic signals?

Let’s examine what making a proper stop means and where it has to be done. You may be surprised to learn that the stop sign itself simply tells you what you must do, not where you have to do it.

The simplest case is one where there is nothing at the intersection other than the stop sign. Here one must stop before entering the intersection itself and in a position nearest to the crossroad where a driver has a clear view of traffic approaching on that crossroad.

Where there is a marked crosswalk along with the stop sign a driver must stop before entering the crosswalk. Doing so will protect against a collision if the driver has failed to notice any pedestrians present.

One failure of our current Motor Vehicle Act is not including unmarked crosswalks in this requirement. Not all unmarked crosswalks are preceeded by a marked stop line to provide some protection for pedestrians.

The stop sign with a marked stop line seems to be the most difficult. Stop lines never seem to be placed at a point where the driver has a good view to the left and right if they stop as required. Consequently, stop lines are often ignored completely. The proper thing to do here is to stop at the line, move ahead to a point where you can see properly, stop again and then proceed after looking both ways to insure it is safe to do so.

Death by Stop Sign is an article in Psychology Today authored by John Staddon. He singles out the stop sign saying:

Look at the familiar stop sign. It does two bad things: First, it makes you look at the stop sign rather than the traffic—it distracts. Second, it doesn’t tell you what you need to know. It tells you to stop even when you can see perfectly well that there is no cross traffic. It shouts “don’t trust your own judgment!”

Dr. Staddon provides Britain as an example of how it should be done. Stop signs are a rare item beside their roads he says, you will find yield signs or their equivalent road markings instead. They have a lower collision rate than North America and yielding instead of stopping saves time and reduces pollution.

He also hints that the roundabout would be preferred over both stop and yield signs. These intersections can reduce collisions by 37% and fatal collisions by 90%.

So, until roundabouts become common in British Columbia, keep in mind that more than half of all collisions happen at intersections. Following proper stop sign etiquette places you in control in a high hazard area.

Reference Links:

 

Cst. Tim Schewe (Ret.) runs DriveSmartBC, a community web site about traffic safety in British Columbia. For 25 years he was an officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, including five years on general duty, 20 in traffic and 10 as a collision analyst responsible for conducting technical investigations of collisions. He retired from policing in 2006 but continues to be active in traffic safety through the DriveSmartBC web site, teaching seminars and contributing content to newspapers and web sites.

www.drivesmartbc.ca

 

Do you know how much your car is costing you?

Do you know how much your car is costing you?

Jonathan Ventura · CBC News

When one Manitoban did the math, she decided to get rid of hers — and she says she has no plans of going back.

“When you really add up the costs and divide them over the year I think most people spend … a lot more than they think they do,” said Erin Riediger,​ an intern architect.

She sold her car three and a half years ago when the cost of repairs became too high.

The costs of depreciation, fuel, maintenance, and insurance all add up for most Canadians, Statistics Canada says.

According to the agency’s Household Spending Survey, the average cost of private transport in Canada is $11,433 a year.

Using resources like CAA’s car calculator and some simple budgeting, Riediger estimated owning a basic compact car would cost her approximately $8,600 a year.

But she calculates that by walking, biking, busing, carpooling, and using Winnipeg’s car share co-op, she kept her total 2019 transportation expenses to just over $2,200.

But that included about $950 to buy two new bikes and getting some work done to another. Without those one-time expenses, she says she would’ve spent an average of about $100 on transportation per month last year.

Commuting without a car

Riediger’s commute varies on the weather. In the summer she uses her bike, while in early December she starts riding the bus.

On weekends or evenings she walks or uses a vehicle from Peg City Car Co-op, a buy-in car share program that charges members an hourly and kilometre rate, in exchange for covering insurance, gas, parking and maintenance.

She’s far from alone in relying on the car share. Peg City says in the last eight years, it’s grown from a fleet of two vehicles to 42, and from 40 members to 1,700.

Growing up in in Charleswood, near the western edge of the city, Riediger says she grew accustomed to having a car.

Now, she says not owning a car is a lifestyle she doesn’t want to give up.

“[I’ve] debated the pros and cons, and the big things for me are lifestyle and also finances I can save.”

It’s a decision that she says has benefits not just for her wallet, but also for her health and the environment.

Walking or biking to the grocery store now feels less like a chore, she said, and more of an opportunity for exercise and fresh air.

‘You kinda need a car’

Not all of the commuters CBC News spoke to were sold on the idea of going car-free, though. For some, the financial costs of owning a car are worth the benefits in a city like Winnipeg.

“Winnipeg has a perception that you kinda need a car to live in this city, [with] everything being so spaced out,” said commuter Denis Cicak. “When it’s –30, you’re not going to wait half an hour for a bus.”

Cicak says where he lives would be a big factor in determining what other forms of transportation he might consider.

Riediger understands that changing commuting method can seem daunting. She admits that many are discouraged by bus schedules and unprotected bike routes.

“It’s a little bit of a chicken and egg scenario, because you need better transit to get more people to take transit but also you need people taking transit to be able to pay for it.”

Orly Linovski, an assistant professor in the University of Manitoba’s department of city planning, understands that other modes of transportation need to be made easy — but that’s not the only factor to consider when it comes to driving less.

“The environmental benefits are huge. When we’re in the midst of a climate crisis we probably cannot overstate that,” Linovski said.

“There’s impacts for your health. Even if you use public transportation, the vast majority of public transit trips have some amount of walking with it.”

Linovksi also said she sees more people who aren’t necessarily giving up their cars entirely, but are reducing car use by choosing different transportation methods for different trips.

Riediger agrees everyone needs to find the approach that works best for them.

“I’m not going to tell anybody how they should live … it’s not about taking people’s cars away,” she said, though she encourages others to try living without owning a car.

“If you just try it you’re going to feel lifestyle improvements beyond just the cost savings.”

Source: CBC News

Does Your E-Scooter Require Automobile Insurance?

The excerpted article was written by Article by Daniel Strigberger

During the second weekend of 2020, much of Ontario suffered from strong winds and heavy rainfall, causing havoc for motorists across the province. The last thing I wanted to do was leave my house. Especially not on an e-scooter.

On January 1, 2020, the Ontario Legislature launched a five-year pilot program with broad rules for the use of Electric Kick Scooters (e-scooters) on municipal roads. Among other things, the rules include several vehicle and safety requirements. These e-scooters must have:

  • Maximum speed capacity of 24 km/h;
  • Maximum weight of 45 kg;
  • Maximum power output of 500W;
  • Front and rear lights;
  • Two wheels with a maximum diameter of 17 inches; and
  • No pedals or breaks

Only one rider is allowed to use an e-scooter and that rider must be standing at all times. No baskets or cargo are allowed on the e-scooter.

Under the pilot program, municipalities must now pass by-laws to allow their use and determine where they can operate safely in their borders.

When I first read about this new pilot program, the insurance lawyer in me naturally wondered whether these devices would require automobile insurance when being operated on municipal roads. I think they might.

Automobile Insurance Requirements in Ontario

The pilot program is silent on automobile insurance, which could lead many people to assume that automobile insurance is not required for using e-scooters on roads. But what does the law have to say about this issue?

My analysis acknowledges that automobile insurance policies provide insurance for automobiles. There is no question that an e-scooter is not an automobile in ordinary parlance. It does not look, feel, sound, smell, or taste like an automobile. It looks more like a cool toy.

However, section 224 (1) of the Insurance Act has an expanded definition of “automobile”:

“automobile” includes,

(a) a motor vehicle required under any Act to be insured under a motor vehicle liability policy, and

(b) a vehicle prescribed by regulation to be an automobile; (“automobile”)

This means that if an Act requires a particular motor vehicle to be insured, it becomes an “automobile” for insurance purposes.

There are two issues here:

  1. Is an e-scooter a “motor vehicle” and, if so:
  2. Must an e-scooter be insured under an automobile policy when it is being driven on a municipal road?

The Insurance Act does not define “motor vehicle”. I turn next to section 1 of the Highway Traffic Act, which states as follows:

“motor vehicle” includes an automobile, a motorcycle, a motor assisted bicycle unless otherwise indicated in this Act, and any other vehicle propelled or driven otherwise than by muscular power, but does not include a street car or other motor vehicle running only upon rails, a power-assisted bicycle, a motorized snow vehicle, a traction engine, a farm tractor, a self-propelled implement of husbandry or a road-building machine; [emphasis added]

Is an e-scooter propelled or driven otherwise than by muscular power? I believe so. Some quick online research on e-scooters reveals that they are propelled by an electric motor, which gets its power from a rechargeable battery that is mounted to the scooter. Depending on the type and model of the scooter, the motor might power the front wheel or both wheels, thereby propelling the scooter forward.

Assuming that an e-scooter meets the definition of “motor vehicle” under the Highway Traffic Act, it would also meet the definition of “motor vehicle” under the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act, which adopts the HTAdefinition of “motor vehicle”.

This is where it gets interesting.

Section 2 (1) of the CAIA requires all motor vehicles that are being driven on highways (which includes municipal roads) to be insured under an automobile policy:

Compulsory automobile insurance

2 (1) Subject to the regulations, no owner or lessee of a motor vehicle shall,

(a) operate the motor vehicle; or

(b) cause or permit the motor vehicle to be operated,

on a highway unless the motor vehicle is insured under a contract of automobile insurance.

So if e-scooters are “motor vehicles” and they are being driven on municipal roads, the CAIA requires them to be insured under an automobile policy. And if the CAIA requires them to be insured under an automobile policy when driven on municipal roads, it appears that these e-scooters suddenly become “automobiles” for the purpose of Ontario’s Insurance Act.

Yikes!

What does this mean for E-scooters?

If an e-scooter is an “automobile” for insurance purposes, using these vehicles on municipal roads opens up all sorts of issues:

  1. An e-scooter would be required to be insured under an automobile policy while it is being driven on an Ontario road;
  2. The owner or lessee of an e-scooter could be charged with an offence under the CAIA if their e-scooters are being operated without insurance;
  3. If the owner or lessee of an e-scooter is injured in an automobile accident while contravening section 2 of the CAIA, they would not be allowed to sue a negligent motorist for personal injuries pursuant to section 267.6 of the Insurance Act;
  4. Where the use or operation of any e-scooter on a municipal road directly causes an impairment, the person would likely be entitled to claim accident benefits – even if the e-scooter was uninsured and even if the incident did not involve any other automobiles.

With this in mind, will automobile insurers consider insuring e-scooters under automobile policies? Will the Legislature carve out insurance requirements for e-scooters? Will I ever be able to leave the house with an e-scooter?

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

Source: Mondaq

 

 

What to know about Turo, one of Calgary’s few remaining car share services

What to know about Turo, one of Calgary’s few remaining car share services

The excerpted article was written by Chandler Walter  | Daily Hive: Calgary Urbanized

Calgary’s a sprawling city encompassing a total area of 825.3 square kilometres.

The C-Train and transit buses are perfectly suitable options for Calgarians and visitors to traverse throughout YYC — so long as your destination happens to be close to a stop.

Our Lime bikes and Bird scooters have been tucked away to hibernate over the cold winter months, and Car2Go pulled out of the city back in October.

So where does that leave a car-less Calgarian who’s looking to get into the mountains, or even just pick up someone from the airport?

Well, one of the city’s few remaining options for car sharing is Turo, a peer-to-peer platform that has been described as similar to Airbnb, but for cars.

Basically, it connects car-owning Calgarians with those who are looking to rent a vehicle, allowing for a legal and insured transaction.

“It’s a pretty simple concept, but it’s a really efficient one because it’s really about putting the world’s 1.5 billion cars to better use,” said Cedric Mathieu, Turo Canada’s Managing Director, in an interview with Daily Hive Calgary.

“Cars are an incredibly underutilized asset; people use their cars less than 5% of the time, and for 95% of the time cars are idle in the driveway or the garage, costing their owners money.”

Mathieu noted that the loss of Car2Go in Calgary was a hit for those who may not own their own vehicles — especially in what can be a painfully cold place to live.

“The Car2Go situation has been a big loss for car sharing in Alberta and in Calgary in particular, though we’re excited to see that other car sharing platforms are looking at the market and considering it for the future,” he said.

“The good news is that there are still car sharing services in Calgary and Alberta, and Turo is one of them.”

There are roughly 1,500 vehicles currently listed on Turo throughout YYC, with about 500 being available for trips on a daily basis, according to Mathieu.

Renting a car may not be the easiest solution for a quick trip — seeing as the minimum rental is for a day and picking the car up from its location can be a journey in and of itself — but Mathieu says that the service is ideal for people who may want to leave the city for a few days or to take a trip into the mountains.

Turo launched in the United States in 2010, and has been operating in Ontario, Quebec, and Alberta since 2016. They most recently entered into Nova Scotia in June of 2019, and Mathieu says that the eventual goal is to offer services from coast to coast.

One of the major hurdles in getting into some of Canada’s provinces, however, is insurance.

Turo has a partnership with Intact Insurance, which is active for all trips and covers the full value of the vehicle plus $2 million in liability.

Those who are putting their own vehicles on the platform don’t have to pay a deductible if a guest accidentally crashes their car or if it gets stolen, as the driver will be on the hook for the deductible — which goes down in price depending on the coverage package they choose at the start of their trip.

Because all Turo trips are operated under the same insurance provider, it creates something of a speedbump for the company when trying to enter provinces such a BC, where private insurance is not allowed.

Still, Mathieu noted in the interview that he has seen a shift in how Canadians are approaching transportation, with apps like Uber and Lyft offering a new option for shorter trips, and Turo and Car2Go providing an alternative to more traditional car rental services — as well as a way for car owners to get some extra value out of their vehicles.

“Cars are, in a sense, the biggest purchase you’re going to make in your life, or maybe the second biggest, after your home, and it’s incredibly inefficient asset when you think about it,” he said in the interview.

“The amount of money that is put into it, the level of depreciation that the car is going to experience almost immediately after you buy it, and then the money you’re going to invest in maintaining and insuring and parking that car, it makes it one of the worst investments you can make, actually.”

A view that the owners of the 32,000 vehicles across Canada may have also taken prior to signing their ride up for service.

Mathieu also noted that the wide variety of vehicles offered through the platform could be a draw, especially for those who may need something a little extra, like ski racks or a baby seat.

At this rate, we’ll just take anything that warms up quick — seeing as the shoelace express in -30°C weather can be a very painful option.

Auto insurance in N.B. likely to see double-digit increases in 2020

The excerpted article was written BY

Car insurance rates are likely to see a hike this year, according to experts.

New Brunswick’s consumer advocate for insurance says rate percentage increases could jump by double digits, with several applications before the province’s insurance board.

“Now we have all those fancy sensors and all those things, so a regular or a small fender bender or accident that we used to have a couple of years ago, now the amount to repair accidents, it costs much more than it used to,” says advocate Michèle Pelletier. “I think in 2020, it’s going to be about the same thing as it was in 2019; insurers are still filing for substantial increases, two-digit increases.”

A hearing held by the New Brunswick Insurance Board started Tuesday in Fredericton, following an application from Echelon General Insurance Company, seeking a 30 per cent rate increase for private passenger vehicles. Pelletier says the request has since been modified, and the company is now asking for a 51 per cent increase. She says Echelon is a mid-market company, however, for consumers who have been involved in multiple accidents or people with speeding tickets.

Sonnet Insurance Company, which has a hearing in Saint John in February, is seeking a 50 per cent increase, according to the board’s website. There are notices for other applications seeking increases, as well.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) says there’s been a gap between claims and premiums.

“From 2014 to 2018, claims cost have increased over that period 22 per cent. Now if we look at premiums from 2013 to 2018, the average written premium increased 11.5 per cent,” says Amanda Dean, the Atlantic region’s vice-president for IBC.

Drivers who spoke to Global News in Moncton Tuesday didn’t take the news too well.

“I believe that the increases are a little exuberant,” says Gus Dublin. “What we do pay for insurance is probably already high enough.”

“Car insurance is crazy these days,” says Bruno Gallant.

Charline Bourque always shops around to find the best rate, but still says “(it’s) ridiculous because I find (rates) are quite high already.”

Meanwhile, Pelletier says New Brunswick still has one of the lowest premiums in the country.

Dean says insurance companies across the country are seeing “claims pressures building,” although to varying extents, but notes that increases in New Brunswick are a result of claims filed in New Brunswick

 

DriveSmartBC: An Overview of Car Insurance for BC Drivers

Chances are good that when you think about car insurance your first thought is about how much it is going to cost you rather than how well it is going to protect you if something goes wrong. You might even be tempted to shade the truth about who will be driving your vehicle or how they will be using it to reduce those costs. Be very careful how you make decisions about insurance as making poor choices can put you at huge financial risk post crash.

Insurance is a contract between you and an insurance company. Pay the premiums and the company will protect you from financial losses specified in the contract.

The risk is spread among all the policy holders in an effort to make the premiums more affordable, but you may have to pay a higher premium if you are at higher risk for making a claim. Penalty point and driver risk premiums are used by ICBC in addition to your collision history to set rates.

The surest way to keep premiums low is to keep the number of claims low. This concept appears to be lost on many drivers today. Some make no connection between the way they drive and the risk that they present.

We consider insurance so important that a policy must be in effect in order to drive. You must carry a liability card while driving and produce it to police on demand. Should you be involved in a collision, you must produce particulars of the liability card in writing to anyone suffering loss or injury or who witnessed the collision if they request it.

In British Columbia, we all have to buy our basic third party liability insurance from ICBC. This protects us from the damage that we do to others if we are at fault in a collision. Basic Autoplan covers up to $200,000.00 but a quick look at some of the case law on this site will suggest that this is nowhere near enough. An honest, careful discussion with your Autoplan Agent can help you decide what is appropriate for your circumstances.

We can buy additional third party insurance and coverage for our own damage; collision, fire, theft, vandalism and other losses from ICBC or other private insurance companies. In this case, it could pay you to compare insurance companies to see if their rates for similar or better coverage costs less than an ICBC policy.

According to Hergott Law, the best $25.00 that you will ever spend on insurance is for Underinsured Motorist Protection.

Now that you are insured, be careful not to do anything that would breach your contract. Driving while impaired, without a driver’s licence or with a suspended licence, evading police action, racing or making a misrepresentation on the application for insurance can all void your coverage.

In some contract breaches, ICBC will pay for damages done to others and then expect you to reimburse the cost. The corporation may also cancel or refuse to issue a driver’s licence or vehicle licence and number plates for outstanding motor vehicle-related debts.

Cst. Tim Schewe (Ret.) runs DriveSmartBC, a community web site about traffic safety in British Columbia. For 25 years he was an officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, including five years on general duty, 20 in traffic and 10 as a collision analyst responsible of conducting technical investigations of collisions. He retired from policing in 2006 but continues to be active in traffic safety through the DriveSmartBC web site, teaching seminars and contributing content to newspapers and web sites.

www.drivesmartbc.ca

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