From: John Milloy MPP <jmilloy.mpp/ at /liberal.ola.org>
Subject: RE: Bill 129, Highway Traffic Amendment Act, 2004
November 19, 2004
Dear Mr. Russell,
Thank you for contacting my office about Bill 129, the Highway Traffic Amendment Act. I appreciate your comments and I have noted your concerns about this legislation.
As you may know, on Thursday November 4, 2004 my Private Members Bill, Bill 129, unanimously passed second reading in the Legislature and was referred to the Social Policy Committee of the Legislature of further review. I was extremely pleased with the tri-party unanimous support for the Bill, and by the overwhelming support I have received from Ontarians throughout the province.
The bill proposes to change the existing Highway Traffic Act by making it mandatory for all individuals to wear a certified helmet when cycling, in line skating, skateboarding, etc. on public roadways.
The changes I have proposed in my Bill will have a significant impact on the number of brain injuries suffered by Ontarians as a result of road accidents involving cyclists in line skaters etc. For example, it has been calculated by the ThinkFirst Foundation of Canada, that if every adult bicyclist wore a helmet, 50 Ontarians would be saved from incurring a serious brain injury annually. Combined with the injuries prevented when in line skating, skateboarding or using other kinds of non-motorized wheeled vehicles on roadways and you have an enormous savings for our health care system – $4-$9 million over the course of a single victims lifetime – and a priceless emotional and physical gain for individuals and families throughout the province.
Beyond what the legislation will legally change, my goal with Bill 129 is to create a culture of safety in Ontario. As much as we like to think we are invincible, we are not. Head injuries do not discriminate on the basis of age or the type of wheeled recreational vehicle an individual is operating. Further, head injuries can result in the tragic loss of life, the shattering of hopes, or amoung other things, countless hours of rehabilitation.
Head injuries as a result of an in line skating, bike, skateboard or other wheeled recreational vehicle accident can be prevented by as much as 85% by wearing a simple helmet. Despite this, many individuals have not chosen to wear a certified helmet when operating these vehicles. I do not believe that the inconvenience of wearing a helmet outweighs the personal and financial cost of a potential injury and that is why I have sponsored this Legislation.
I recognize that regardless of the aforementioned statistics and arguments that you may still have concerns about the Bill. Please be assured that I will be tracking Ontarians views on Bill 129 as it proceeds through the legislative process, and that I will take each and every thought and suggestion into consideration.
Thank you again for taking the time to comment on The Highway Traffic Amendment Act. If you require further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.
John Milloy MPP
Note: For your information I have consulted with the following organizations about Bill 129
Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police
Ontario Medical Association
Ontario Brain Injury Association
ThinkFirst Foundation of Canada
Association of Municipal Emergency Medical Services
Region of Waterloo Emergency Medical Services
Region of Waterloo Police Service
Toronto Police Service
Participation House – WR
Ontario Cycling Association
Various local cycling organizations
District and Public Health Offices
Many medical professionals
Canada Safety Council
I am still meeting, writing and talking with groups and individuals on this issue, and I will continue to do so while the Bill proceeds through the legislative process. Further, when the Bill reaches the committee stage there is possibility that there will be public hearings held.