Kill Bill 117
Bill 117 will amend the Highway Traffic Act Section 38.1 to include ‘No person shall drive
or operate a motorcycle on a highway if another person under the age of 14 years is a
passenger on the motorcycle.’
After extensive research and an interview with MPP Helena Jaczek who introduced Bill
117, it is clear that there are no statistics to support such a drastic piece of legislation we
describe as nothing less than ‘absolute rule’ by our Ontario government.
According to the Ministry of Transportation’s Annual Safety Reports ‘199 children were
injured in motorcycle related accidents from 1995 to 2005’ quoted by MPP Jaczek yet she
has excluded the fact that those injuries include minimal, minor and major injuries. Surely
the motorcycling community can be proud of those statistics not alarmed by them.
She will go on to quote Smartrisk, an organization partnered with State Farm Insurance,
according to them 46 children were hospitalized in Ontario in the fiscal year of ’05 to ‘06
due to motorcycle related accidents. Which is correct? Smartrisk or statistics from the
Ministry of Transportation’s Annual Safety Reports? There seems to be a rather large
discrepancy. The following may explain why.
According to her interview on bikerradiomagazine.com, MPP Jaczek admits she is unclear
if the motorcycle related hospitalizations from Smartrisk were not in fact off-road vehicles
yet in order to garner support for her ‘cause’ she continues to repeat those same statistics
and did in front of the Ontario Legislature on December 4, 2008 right before Bill 117
passed second reading.
Supporters of Bill 117 have stated ‘if they can just protect only one child’. Since no
children under the age of 14 have died in a motorcycle related accident in 13 years
according to the MTO reports, there is no need for their concern in that regard.
They speak of Ontario as being a leader in road safety legislation in the past but you can’t
compare apples to oranges. You can compare seat beat laws to safety helmet laws but
you can’t compare seat belt laws to forbidding children to ride on a licensed street worthy
vehicle. You can compare child booster seats to foot rest reach but you can’t compare
child booster seats to prohibiting anyone under the age of 14 from riding on the back of a
Far more children are hurt every year in automobile accidents, on ATV’s and bicycles and
in playgrounds. Why then are they targeting motorcycles? Will they stop here? Our
government is attempting to ban a part of the population from a legal mode of
To quote the Smartrisk slogan: ‘SMARTRISK helps people see the risks in their everyday
lives and shows them how to take those risks in the smartest way possible so that they
can enjoy life to the fullest’.
It would seem MPP Jaczek’s disregard for true statistics goes hand in hand with her
disregard for the fundamental belief of the very people who gave her the information she
manipulates. A belief that could very well be described as the essence of the motorcycling
community. To know that there is risk in everything we do from the moment we walk out
the front door, yet walk we do.