A growing reality that we currently face is that the road must be shared by motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians. In Quebec, there are more than 8 million pedestrians, 5 million motorists, and 4 million cyclists. These numbers show how important it is to share the road safely and to carefully abide by the Highway Safety Code.
At the moment, a new reform of the Highway Safety Code is gradually coming into effect. It was adopted to better protect the most vulnerable users of the road, which, given the hierarchy of road users, are cyclists and pedestrians. Naturally, other more comprehensive measures were adopted to protect us all. The bottom line of this reform is caution on the road.
Some of the Most Significant Changes
- The fines for using a cell phone while driving are increasing. The minimum fine will now be $300 instead of $80, and the maximum will be $600 instead of $100. It will also be possible to suspend the driver’s licence. (Effective June 30, 2018)
- The use of cellphones, headsets, and earphones will now be banned for cyclists. (Effective June 30, 2018)
- The fines for offences by cyclists are also increasing. The minimum will go from $15 to $80, and the maximum will now be $100 instead of $30. However, demerit points will no longer apply to cyclists. (Already in effect)
- The mandatory period for winter tires will be extended. Motorists will have to install their winter tires by December 1 instead of by December 15. The end date of the period will still be March 15. (Effective December 1, 2019)
Drinking and Driving Repeat Offenders
- Repeat offenders will be required to install an ignition interlock device for their vehicle that will prevent them from using the vehicle if they have consumed alcohol. This new measure will require them to keep such a device for life. (The effective date has not yet been set.)
- The mandatory period of use of child seats will be extended until the child is 145 cm tall or 9 years old. (Effective April 18, 2019)
- The fines for driving without a seat belt are increasing. The minimum fine will go from $80 to $200, and the maximum fine will go from $100 to $300. (Already in effect)
- Drivers with learner’s licences will not be able to drive between midnight and 5 a.m. (Already in effect)
- People learning to ride motorcycles will no longer be required to have an accompanying rider. (Already in effect)
- During school hours, fines will now be doubled for speeding in school zones. (Effective August 1, 2019)
- Pedestrians will now have the right of way as soon as they indicate their intention to cross, instead of when they begin crossing. (Already in effect).
These new measures show how much the Highway Safety Code has evolved since the first “tickets” were given out in 1910 and since wearing seat belts became mandatory for front-seat passengers in 1976 and for rear-seat passengers in 1990.
You can see all of the new proposed measures on the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec website. Be safe on the roads!