B.C. quadrupling fine for 'dooring' cyclists
A cyclist rides her bike along the seawall in Stanley Park in downtown Vancouver, Sept. 16, 2011. (Jonathan Hayward / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
VANCOUVER -- B.C. is quadrupling its fine for "dooring" cyclists starting in mid-September, the province says.
As of Sept. 21, anyone who opens the door of a parked vehicle and hits a cyclist will now face a fine of $368-- an increase of more than four times the current fine of $81.
The province says its current fine is among the lowest in Canada. In Ontario, the fine for dooring offences is $365, which includes a $60 victim surcharge and $5 court cost.
Transportation Minister Claire Trevena said in a statement that the issue is preventable, and the province will be rolling out a public education and awareness campaign to improve cyclists' safety.
"Dooring can cause serious injury, and the new fine reflects that," she said.
The province hopes the campaign and higher fine will make drivers more aware of their actions and raise the profile of cyclists.
The acting executive director of HUB Cycling, Navdeep Chhina, said the increased fine is a step in the right direction towards updating B.C.'s "outdated" Motor Vehicle Act.
"We must continue to make our roads safer by building safer infrastructure and increasing fines for motorist negligence risking injury or death of vulnerable road users, as well as for aggressive driving, harassment of people cycling and walking, and for theft or tampering with bicycles," he said.
B.C. has the highest percentage of active transportation trips for commuting to work out of all provinces, according to figures from the province. It hopes to double the percentage of trips taken by active transportation by 2030.
Spencer Chandra-Herbert, MLA for Vancouver-West End, said it's important to have policies in place for people to commute safely as cycling and other active transportation methods become more popular.
"Dooring can kill or severely injure a person," he said. "Making the offence of dooring equivalent to distracted driving and excessive speeding offences in terms of the fine is another step to keeping our more vulnerable road users safe."