Bill 117 – UPDATE
Bill 117 passes 2nd reading and is referred to Justice Policy Committee
On December 4th, I was in attendance at the 2nd reading of Bill 117 and was disappointed, although not surprised to see Bill 117 pass it’s 2nd reading and get referred to the Justice Policy Committee for review and consideration.
Although MPP Dr. Jaczek’s Bill is well intentioned, it is certainly flawed with regards to the statistics she uses to support her position. Yes, children have required medical attention from motorcycle related injuries but not once in 15 years has a child been killed as a result of riding as a passenger on a motorcycle in Ontario. In fact, Dr. Jaczek is not unable to clarify how many of those injuries were as a result of road vs. offroad motorcycle activities, nor is she able to confirm or deny that some of those injuries may have been as a result of simply leaning against a hot exhaust in the driveway.
The Canada Safety Council concluded that from 1999 to 2005 there were no fatalities for motorcycle passengers less than fourteen years of age. They also revealed that Ontario children were four times more likely to have been injured as passengers on bicycles and 262 times more likely to have been injured as passengers in vehicles than to have been injured as passengers on motorcycles. They also state that this Bill is trying to address an issue that simply does not exist.
The motorcycle industry body (MMIC) will be distributing petitions around all the member manufacturer booths at the upcoming Toronto Motorcycle Show for the public to sign. The completed petitions will be supplied to the MPPs that can use it most effectively (likely opposition), and so we thoroughly recommend that if you’re going to the show, that you take time to add your signature.
Bill 117 assumes a couple things; firstly, that motorcycles are so dangerous that children must be protected from them and secondly that because of this, parents should not be able to make the choice to ride with their children.
Of course any child that is hurt or killed is a tragedy and it is very easy to say, “If they had not been on the motorcycle, they would have been fine.” However, the same can be said about any child killed in a car accident or killed in a skiing accident. They would have been fine had they not been in that situation to begin with.
Life is not without risk and nearly every recreational or sporting activity comes with some. It is a parent’s responsibility to calculate those risks. Even our day-to-day routines can be dangerous; including taking our children to school could result in them being killed along the way. Children are injured at a rate of one every three minutes from Hockey related injuries but nobody bats an eye at that despite such a shockingly high number of injuries per year.
Bill 117 takes away our rights as parents to make decisions about exposing our children to the world we want them to experience. It assumes that parents are not capable to make decisions about the risks of any given activity and the rewards associated with them.
Once again this Bill is designed to address a problem that simply doesn’t exist. To quote a colleague and fellow rider who said: Let those who ride decide.