Greetings everyone, as I’m sure you are all aware by now, especially since I frequently discuss the issue, that MPP Helena Jaczek has introduced a Private Members Bill (Bill 117) to ammend the Highway Traffic Act in Ontario to ban children under the age of 14 from being passengers on the back of motorcycles.
This Bill has made it all the way past a second reading and has now been referred to the Justice Policy Committee for consideration and review. If it passes the committee stage, it will get a third reading and may possibly become law.
Why is this a concern for people who don’t ride motorcycles? Because MPP Jaczek has publicly stated that she will look at “saving the children” from other recreational activities next. She specifically mentioned riding bicycles (bicycles?) and ATV’s but where does it end? What about snowmobiles, skiing and even toboggoning, which has already suffered one fatality this year (yes…toboggoning).
I strongly encourage you to listen to episode #55 of Biker Radio Magazine hosted by Ken Venus, whereby Jaczek is interviewed and states her “go forward” intentions not only against the motorcycling community but also towards other recreational activities.
She clearly states in her interview that some of her numbers are based on motorcycles “riders” not “passengers” but she still uses those statistics to support her Bill against “passengers”. When asked if these were injuries as a result of off-road activities, she back-peddles and states “I’m not clear exactly where these occured” (the question is asked at 6min45sec into the show).
It has been recently revealed that Jaczek has been fudging her numbers to support her “cause”. She has relied upon reports from SmartRisk to indicate the number of children injured from motorcycles but neglected to point out that they were in fact “riders” not “passengers“. The reports from SmartRisk indicate that those “riders” were either riding illegally anyway or were involved in off-road riding activities such as motorcross riding or may have simply burned themselves on a hot exhaust pipe.
This information is very disturbing to say the least. I hate to speculate how she will gather and present “statistics” to garner support for banning children from being passengers (or even riding) on snowmobiles or ATV’s. Of course nobody would dare banning children from playing Hockey, despite the sport sending peolpe to the emergency room at a rate of three per hour in Canada.
In 2005 1.6% of motorcycles, 6.0 % of cars, vans and pick-up trucks, 2.0% of commercial trucks, 14.6% of buses, and 16.2% of school buses were involved in reportable accidents per every 10,000 of those types of vehicles registered. In other words, motorcycles are the least likely to be involved in a crash on Ontario’s roads. The number of motorcycles on Ontario’s roads have increased by 30% in the last 12 years but the number of child-passenger injuries has only increased from 18 to 21.
I emplore you all to actively oppose Bill 117 before MPP Jaczek succeeds against motorcyclists and then moves on to banning children from other activities that we all love our children participating in. Considering there has not been a single child fatality in over 10yrs from being a motorcycle passenger, this Bill will have no impact on “saving the children”. You simply cannot “save the children” from all harm, unless you are willing to prevent them living life.
A petition and several position letters have been prepared by a fellow motorcycle advocate, IronMaiden, which can be found below. She has successfully been able to do her own investigation into Jaczek’s “statistics” to discover that they have been shockingly misrepresented.
Please review her material from the links and forward this onward to anyone and everyone that you can.
Accompanying letter #1:
Accompanying letter #2:
Quote from an online forum:
When they closed the the dirt bikers’ trails,
I remained silent;
I was not a dirt biker.
When they locked up the “street racers”,
I remained silent;
I was not a “street racer”.
When they prohibited 13-year-old bike passengers,
I did not speak out;
I was not a 13-year-old-bike passenger, nor do I know any.
When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.
Life comes with risk and only a fool can believe that they can avoid all danger or ban others from activities that they personally deem to be unsafe.
Risks can be mitigated…not avoided.