So, the Essar Centre opened in 2006.
As I recall in the year or so leading up to that, there were a lot of people who opposed the City’s decision to tear down the “beloved” Memorial Garden and replace it with a much more modern, useful building. Quite a few said that would never set foot in the building.
I’m wondering how many of them have stuck to their guns and have actually never gone inside?
The Province announced that there is new Road Safety legislation in the works, including adding demerit points for “Distracted Driving,” and an increased fine for “dooming” cyclists — opening your door without checking first.
I am amazed, though perhaps I shouldn’t be, at the literally hundreds of posters on various news sites that argued against the proposed measures.
One comment, especially, stuck with me. A poster complained that he doesn’t think it fair that the government make a new law that could see him charged just because some cyclist wasn’t watching where he was going.
First of all… it’s not a “new” law. The law already exists, and has since before I started driving per 35 years ago.
Currently, the Ontario Highway Traffic Act, section 165, states that…
No person shall,
(a) open the door of a motor vehicle on a highway without first taking due precautions to ensure that his or her act will not interfere with the movement of or endanger any other person or vehicle;
I quiz my driving students on this during our “downtown” lesson. As we are driving along Queen Street, I have them identify potential problems. They correctly point out the parked cars, from between which pedestrians could emerge, or which could pull out, or a door could open.
I then ask, “If someone opens the door and you hit it and rip it off, whose fault is it?” Three out of four believe it would be their own fault.
I correct them, and inform them that it cannot be their fault. They have absolutely no way of knowing that the occupant (from either side, not just the driver) is about the fling the door open; only the person opening the door knows that. Therefore, it is that person’s responsibility to ensure that it is safe to open the door before doing so.
The current penalty, by the way, is $85 (plus 25% victim surcharge) and 2 demerits points.
The new proposal would increase the fine and demerits when such a collision involves a cyclist. After all, if you hit someone’s door in your vehicle, there will be damage, but likely no personal injury.
A cyclist hitting a door, however, is very likely to be injured.
And, yes… there are people who are adamant that there needs to be more enforcement of the ‘Rules of the Road’ when it comes to cyclists. We have all seen the cyclists who swerve between motor vehicles, ride between the curb and a line of stopped vehicles to reach the front of the line — some even running the red light in the process, and other glaring infractions.
Certainly, there needs to be accountability for both motorists and cyclists.
However, opening a vehicle door in front of a cyclist who is obeying all the rules and is simply caught unawares is wrong; there can be no argument about this.
By the way… I was “doored” once. Fortunately, I was not travelling all that fast. I guess I was maybe 14 or 15 — it was before I started driving. Back then, and even now, if I’m just out for a leisurely ride, I meander through various neighbourhoods, seeing the sights and enjoying the ride.
This particular time I had just finished pedalling up the hill on Grandview Ave (I was about half the weight I am now, and I could actually pedal up a hill). I had been passed by a car on my way up. The driver went a bit past me then pulled over an parked.
As I was passing him, he flung his door open. I yanked on the brakes, and managed not to hit the door, but I did end up dumping myself onto the road.
The driver got out and yelled at me, telling me to watch where I was going.
He didn’t seem to like me suggesting that it was him that was in the wrong, that he should have looked before opening his door. He simply swore at me and walked away.
A neighbour saw what happened and came out to check if I was okay. He suggested I could call the cops, but I just didn’t see the point.
I'm not sure if I would be that lenient if it was to happen to me now.
I watched a really cool music video earlier tonight, by singer-songwriter and Sault native Kalle Mattson, called “A Love Song to the City.”
The video has some great footage shot here in the Sault.
It’s really cool to hear someone who is proud of the Sault.
All too often we hear the negatives… things that could be better, comparisons with other cities. Perhaps we are just too close to the situation to be objective, to be able to recognize how good we have it here.
No, it’s not perfect. The old saying is true, the grass is always greener — or, it appears to be greened — on the other side of the fence.
Yeah, I know… some people see the glass half-full, others half-empty. But however we see that glass, maybe we should actually look at the glass itself, and its contents.
Instead of dwelling on what we don’t have, or what we might like to have, we really just need to appreciate what we have.
But… that’s just my opinion.