From September 21st to September 24th, Ontario’s Critic for Active Transportation, MPP Joel Harden, embarked on an inspiring journey, cycling from Ottawa to Toronto in the #SafetyRide. This ambitious ride was not just a physical challenge but an opportunity to promote the Moving Ontarians Safely Act, also known as Bill 40 in local communities along the way. This private member’s bill aims to enhance road safety for pedestrians and cyclists, mitigating risks and fostering a culture of protection and accountability on Ontario’s roads.
Throughout his four-day ride, Harden made strategic stops in Kingston, Brighton, Oshawa, Scarborough, and finally, Toronto. At each location, he organized community consultations, providing a platform for concerned individuals to voice their opinions and experiences regarding road safety, active transportation, and environmental sustainability. By engaging directly with communities, MPP Harden demonstrated a genuine commitment to understanding the challenges faced by vulnerable road users and fostering dialogue on potential solutions.
The significance of the #SafetyRide extends beyond the ride itself. It represents a call to action for the Ontario Legislature to prioritize the safety of pedestrians and cyclists. Despite being a topic of discussion in the past, the Protecting Vulnerable Road Users Act, proposed in various forms over the last decade, is yet to be enacted into law. With Bill 40 set for its Second Reading on November 16th, MPP Harden’s ride was rallying for approval in Ontario’s 43rd Parliament.
Bill 40 encompasses crucial measures aimed at ensuring accountability for those responsible for road offences. Alongside proposed community service and driver re-education programs, the bill suggests the implementation of license suspension and mandatory court attendance for culpable motorists to hear victim impact statements during the sentencing process. These provisions highlight the bill’s comprehensive approach to reinforcing responsible behaviour and prioritizing the protection of vulnerable road users.
As Ontario continues to prioritize active transportation and environmental sustainability, the #SafetyRide and the advocacy for Bill 40 are essential toward fostering safer and more sustainable communities. MPP Harden’s dedication to this cause underscores the necessity of collaborative efforts in shaping legislative frameworks that prioritize the well-being of all road users. With continued advocacy and support, the realization of Bill 40 could mark a significant milestone in Ontario’s commitment to road safety and a more inclusive and sustainable transportation system.