Posted by Editoress on 05/22/18
This fall, the Nova Scotia government plans to introduce a new Traffic Safety Act to replace the out-dated Motor Vehicle Act, which has not been rewritten since the 1920's.
Bicycle Nova Scotia has been working with other partners in the province to push for changes to this legislation. Reviewing the act, we are suggesting that the public advocate for five changes that will have significant impact for the safety and rights of cyclists in the province.
The top five changes that need to be included in the new Traffic Safety Act are:
1. Recognize and define Vulnerable Road Users under the new Traffic Safety Act
2. Allow for a municipal council to direct their traffic authority to set speed limits under 50 km/hour, without the need to seek permission from the Provincial Traffic Authority
3. Legislation to prohibit "dooring"
4. Legislation to prohibit the "right-hook" and "left cross"
5. Permit the use of a "bicycle signal", and legislation for "cross-rides" in Nova Scotia
Detailed information on these suggested changes can found below.
We ask you to please fill out the online form to send your feedback to NSTIR. Feel free to cut and paste the above five points in order to provide a consistent message.
The deadline for input is on June 8th.
If you want to review the current Motor Vehicle Act, it can be downloaded Here.
Please share with your family, friends, neighbours, and fellow cyclists.
Details & Information Related to Advocacy Efforts
These initiatives are informed by best practice research and an effort to bring NS traffic safety legislation in line with North American standards.
Cross-rides and Bicycle Signals are standard contemporary bicycle facility intersection treatments that are prohibited in Nova Scotia because of the Motor Vehicle Act. HRM has made a request to the Province to change legislation in order to enable cross-rides. These treatments are required to implement many types of protected bikeway infrastructure, including treatments planned for the McKay Bridge bike lane approaches. The background of HRM's request can be downloaded Here.
Dooring legislation is in force in all other Canadian provinces with the exception of Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan. Several "dooring" incidents occurring in NS each year (four have been reported in our incident report form). Without specific legislation against dooring, police have been unable to charge drivers who open their door into oncoming cyclists. It is essentially looked at as the fault of the cyclists.
Right-hook and left-cross collisions are among the most common types of bicycle/automobile collision (Here). As the MVA is improved, we have an opportunity to add clarity on the responsibilities of drivers toward cyclists within intersections. The case involving Kyle McKay, in which Crown charges against a driver who failed to yield to a cyclist in an intersection while turning left were dismissed by a provincial court judge, is an example of how inadequately the MVA deals with this issue - read about it Here.
Pedestrians and cyclists' chances of surviving a collision with a vehicle improve drastically as speeds are decreased. Research shows lowering speeds from 50 to 30km/hr on residential streets and in areas where vulnerable road user/ motor vehicle interactions are frequent has great health and safety benefits. Read about it Here.
In Nova Scotia, a municipality wishing to implement a speed limit below 50km/hr must make a request to the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. We believe that local traffic authorities should have jurisdiction to make these decisions independently and responsibly without the deterrent of having to make their case to the Minister on each occasion.
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