Imposing a 30 km/h Speed Limit in Residential Areas

30 km/h speed signCurrently, the B.C. Motor Vehicle Act sets a speed limit of 50 km/h on municipal streets when a different speed limit has not been posted by signs. A recent survey by Research Co. found that 58% of British Columbians would definitely or probably like to see residential speed limits of 30 km/h. This past fall the Union of B.C. Municipalities resolved to ask the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure to amend the Motor Vehicle Act to allow municipalities to set this blanket speed limit.

Municipalities already have the power to implement 30 km/h speed zones anywhere within their boundaries through the use of signs. The amendment would save the effort and expense of installing more signs.

There are five justifications to make the change in this resolution:

The provincial government surveyed municipalities in 2015 as part of the Road Safety Strategy. Not surprisingly, the top two issues of concern reported were vehicle speeds and pedestrian safety.

What should be surprising is that the survey also found that formal municipal road safety program components are rare. Less than one third have a formal mandate to improve road safety and few have developed visions, plans or targets.

Less than half of municipalities have committees with a road safety mandate or road safety improvement programs or projects.

Of 9 potential sources of road safety data suggested, most municipalities relied on public comments and complaints instead of something like a Sustainable Transportation Assessment for Neighbourhoods.

Residents usually request traffic calming changes on their streets to remedy safety issues. Municipalities such as Maple Ridge, North Cowichan and West Kelowna do have policies in place for this. They follow the Canadian Guide to Neighbourhood Traffic Calming produced by the Transportation Association of Canada. It’s expensive to buy and is not available to read for free on line or in my local library so we can to refer to chapter 2 of the B.C. Community Road Safety Toolkit instead.

What do you think our provincial government’s response to this request will be?

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

Cyclists not required to be insured anywhere in the world

Cyclists not required to be insured anywhere in the world

The excerpted article is from the Cowichan Valley Citizen 

Insurance is available for bicyclists including for third party injury.

Shirley Hanson’s response, today, to my letter very interesting. I’d read the letter about the cyclist hitting a pedestrian with a mixture of sadness, sympathy, and anger. It’s another illustration of the need for cyclists AND cars to obey the laws. In this case, a cyclist was either riding illegally on a sidewalk or ignoring a crosswalk….and is guilty of leaving the scene! If the cyclist was not identified, the insurance issue is rather moot. Assuming the cyclist is at fault, they are responsible for the damages and should not be allowed to escape that.

Currently, 52 years after cyclists were guaranteed the right to the road by international law (Canada being one of over 150 countries signing on to that convention) I can find no country which mandates bicycle insurance; even in the Netherlands where 36 per cent of people identify bicycle as their primary commute. Insurance is available for bicyclists including for third party injury. Some home insurance policies cover that as well under their liability clauses.

Here’s a quote from a Toronto legal blog: “There is no right answer to whether or not bikes should be licensed and insured. One thing we can all agree on is that sharing the road and safety is important.”

If you think bicycle insurance should be mandatory, maybe advocate for starting at, say age 12 or 16? I don’t think the parent of a nine-year-old should have to buy it. I’m sure that the governments would study the death and injury stats and make a decision.

The injuries sustained by the unfortunate victim were not listed or reported and I extend my deepest sympathies. I’m very glad she wasn’t hit by a motor vehicle.

On the side, many cyclists who DO ride on sidewalks, probably do it from fear of some drivers who pass too closely and fail to Share the Road which is “the law”.

Peter Lake

North Cowichan

Is your credit card’s travel insurance enough?

The excerpted article is by MoneySense

At last, your highly anticipated vacation is around the corner. As you count off the days on your commute to work each morning, thoughts of anything going wrong while you’re away couldn’t be further from your mind. Besides, you’re pretty sure you’ve got travel health insurance through your credit card anyway, right?

Millions of Canadians have some travel health insurance coverage, either through a policy that comes with a premium credit card or an employer-sponsored health plan, says Will McAleer, executive director of the Travel Health Insurance Association of Canada (THIA). “Some of those are more than adequate for Canadians who travel this winter.”

The problem is that many of us aren’t clear on any of the policy details, which likely include restrictions based on length of stay, age, cost of treatment and any pre-existing conditions you may have. Often, those details aren’t that visible to the consumer, who may have only glanced at the marketing brochure that came with that card or workplace healthcare policy, says McAleer.

Many of these policies expire after age 64 and won’t cover you for a trip longer than 15 days. Or they can max out too soon, designed to pay for a drop-in clinic consult for a case of pink eye but not an emergency medical evacuation if you injure your spine while skiing.

In a recent survey, THIA found that only a little more than a quarter of respondents were clear about what’s covered by a travel policy they hold.

There are four “golden rules” of travel health insurance that Canadians should understand, says McAleer.

  1. Know your policy
    “Understand what your policy covers and what it doesn’t,” he says. Whether that means digging up the information that came with your credit card or workplace insurance, or understanding a new policy you’re planning to purchase, go over the fine print very carefully. Call the insurance company and get specifics if you have any questions.
  2. Know your trip
    Are you travelling as a snowbird, or are you going to go bungee jumping or scuba diving?” asks McAleer. You need to make sure your policy matches your trip and the risks you’re taking while you’re away. You’ll need more insurance for hiking the Inca Trail in Peru or scuba diving in Belize than you would for parking yourself on a beach for a week. The costs for emergency services outside of the country can be significant, particularly when you consider that 80 to 90% of Canadians vacation in the United States—“arguably the most expensive place for medical treatment on the planet,” says McAleer. “A code blue emergency—so, a life-saving emergency—not only could it cost you $10,000 a day, it could cost you $10,000 an hour, depending on how serious the emergency is.”
  3. Know your rights and responsibilities
    McAleer says consumers have a right to contact their insurer to ask for specifics about what’s covered, as well as to appeal if coverage gets denied. “But you’ve also got responsibilities,” he says. The first of those is to make sure you’re answering any medical questions correctly and accurately, “because if you don’t, [that] could lead to disappointment when you need it the least.” Barring a catastrophic situation where it’s simply not possible to do so, you also have a responsibility to contact your insurance provider, not your credit card company, before accessing medical services—otherwise, you may not be covered.
  4. Know your health
    If you’ve been to the doctor for anything beyond a regular checkup recently, you need to learn if those issues could be considered a dreaded “pre-existing condition” that your insurer will exclude from your coverage, says McAleer. If you do have something going on with your health, it doesn’t mean you’ve got to stay home, says Sivan Tumarkin, an insurance and disability lawyer. The key is to get a policy that’s designed to account for whatever you’ve got going on with your health. Manulife, for example, offers travel insurance that’s tailored to whatever pre-existing conditions the customer may have, he says. Note that it’s critical not to cut corners when describing any health issues you have.

“If you make a claim, they’ll pore through your records to find any arguments you’ve breached the policy,” he says.

Tumarkin advises against getting insurance from a travel agent. Because they’re not brokers, they can’t advise you in detail on what a policy will cover. Instead, go to a reputable insurance broker. These pros sell policies from a variety of insurance companies and will help you understand the options. If your employer or credit card coverage isn’t sufficient, a broker can find you a policy that will top you up should you need anything more than the basic drop-in clinic visit.

Vacation costs add up, so it can be tempting to go for a bargain-priced policy offered by your travel agent and travel website.

“Most people will go for whatever is cheapest, but there’s a reason why it’s priced that way,” says Tumarkin.

Saskatchewan posts lowest number of road fatalities since records started

REGINA _ Saskatchewan’s Crown insurer says fewer people were killed on the province’s roads in 2019 than in any year since records started being kept in the 1950s.

Saskatchewan Government Insurance says preliminary statistics indicate 71 people were killed in collisions _ down from 129 in 2018.

The insurer says the 71 deaths compare with an average of nearly 140 road fatalities annually in the previous 10-year period.

The province has strengthened laws in several areas since a special committee on traffic safety was formed in 2012.

There are harsher penalties for impaired drivers and extreme speeders, photo speed enforcement was introduced and distracted driving laws were beefed up.

Joe Hargrave, minister responsible for SGI, is encouraging drivers to bring fatality numbers even lower.

“Collisions are preventable and even one traffic death is too many,” he said in a release Monday. “We can’t celebrate when people are still being killed and injured on our roads.”

Hargrave noted that Saskatchewan held the record not that long ago of the highest number of road fatalities in Canada.

“If you are one of the drivers who still chooses to take risks like texting while you’re driving, driving when you’re impaired or driving at unsafe speeds, you are now in the minority,” added SGI president and CEO Andrew Cartmell.

“We ask you change your habits and become part of making this the province with the safest roads in Canada.”

 

Traffic Fine Revenue Sharing Changes

revenue sharingWe don’t hear a lot about B.C.’s Traffic Fine Revenue Sharing program except when the government is handing out grants to the municipalities. The money is supposed to be employed to “support community safety and address local policing priorities.”

A requirement for participating in the revenue sharing is that the municipality must develop a plan that sets out the intended uses and performance targets for the funds received from the Province. It will report publicly on the plan and progress made toward achieving performance targets for the funds in accordance with those plans.

I did a bit of searching and found an example of one of these reports. It simply states that:

The Traffic Fine Revenue Sharing Grant is assigned to the RCMP budget and is used to fund an additional officer. Without the grant, the City would have had to increase property tax rate a further .75% to maintain the same number of RCMP officers.

There is no evidence of a plan, targets or achievments. This is also a city with a Traffic Safety Committee whose meetings are closed to the public, will not accept public input and makes no public information on it’s deliberations available.

Rural governments simply receive a reduction in their policing bills instead of being able to exercise discretion the way municipalities do.

There are changes coming in 2020 based on changes that the province has made or is contemplating to modernize the traffic ticket system:

  • Expanding the red light Intersection Safety Camera (ISC) to operate continuously
  • Implementing speed activated ISCs
  • Implementing electronic traffic ticketing
  • Potentially replacing the traffic courts with an administrative justice tribunal

All of these changes are underway with the exception of the tribunal. This was still “somewhere over the horizon” the last time I inquired about it.

Recognizing that this will incur new costs, the province and the Union of BC Municipalities have co-operated on amendments to the agreement. The UBCM is expecting that the agreement will “generate additional net income for local governments.”

Mention was made of meetings between UBCM representatives and the provincial government in the summer of 2019 proposing the use of traffic fine revenue for a collision reduction program at intersections and the possibility of extending restrictions on the use of the revenues.

Following that consultation, “the Province is not proceeding with either of these proposals.”

Instead of requiring ICBC to fund additional traffic enforcement perhaps the money should come from provincial traffic fines instead. Let’s make problem drivers pay and enjoy a reduction in our ICBC premiums.

Ontario: Insurance impasse puts snowmobile season on thin ice

Ontario: Insurance impasse puts snowmobile season on thin ice

The excerpted article was written by Stu Mills · CBC News

A dispute over insurance is putting the recreational snowmobile season in eastern Ontario on thin ice.

The Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC), whose members operate and maintain thousands of kilometres of trails across the province, issues liability insurance certificates to private landowners whose property the trails cross.

But this year, some landowners in this region are refusing to renew that arrangement.

The United Counties of Prescott & Russell is one of those landowners. In a French-language interview, the municipality’s director of planning, Louis Prevost, said its lawyers have recommended against renewing the annual certificate.

According to Prevost, they’re concerned the coverage would limit civil liability in the event of an accident.

Trails closed

The imbroglio has forced the Snowmobile Club of Eastern Ontario (SCEO), an OFSC member, to close 100 kilometres of its trails, about one-quarter of its network.

“Why was it acceptable last year and not this year?” asked SCEO president Kim Melbourne. “It’s frustrating.”

The closures punch holes in the network of interconnected routes that take sledders from one end of the Prescott & Russell to the other, Melbourne said.

“Maybe the [snowmobile club] members will be happy just going around in circles, and when they get bored they’ll just turn around and go the other way,” she scoffed.

The insurance impasse means popular trails through the Larose forest, a huge wooded area in the western part of the region, is off limits, as is a former rail corridor still owned by CN, which crosses the region from the Ontario-Quebec border Ottawa’s city limits.

‘It’s dangerous’

“Right now, it’s dangerous,” said snowmobiler Sébastien Saumure, who worries the sudden trail closures will catch some by surprise.

Saumure, who lives in L’Orignal, Ont., said he’s more likely to go sledding in western Quebec where the trails remain uninterrupted.

That worries Charles Lamarche, who estimates half the wintertime customers at his bar-motel in Plantagenet, Ont., are snowmobilers.

“If there’s no snowmobile season, I really don’t know what we’re going to do,” he said in French.

Instead of enjoying their sport, Melbourne and other volunteers with the club will have to spend their time posting “Trail Closed” signs along the network. She’s imploring members to obey them.

Source: CBC News

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