Most would agree that lots has changed since 1957: attitudes, fashions, diversity, communications and transportation.  What has changed very little since then is the BC Provincial legislation that defines and controls the behaviour of people travelling on our streets and roads.
Starting with its title, “Motor Vehicle Act” (MVA), it is pretty clear that the MVA focuses on one group of travelers, often to the detriment of vulnerable road users — people on foot and on bikes.
THIS 51-page position paper has loads of recommendations for amending the MVA.  It was written by The Road Safety Law Reform Group:

. . .  a British Columbian consortium of representatives from the legal community, cycling organizations and research institutions. We support the BC government’s “Vision Zero” plan to make BC’s roads the safest in North America and eliminate road-related injuries and deaths by 2020.
We seek to make roads safer for vulnerable road users—including pedestrians, cyclists and children—by advocating for evidence-based reforms that will modernize the province’s rules of the road in accordance with the BC government’s vision. We have identified 26 recommendations for changes to British Columbia’s traffic legislation. . . .
Equality before the law is a guiding principle for law reform. This requires taking into account the capabilities and vulnerabilities of all road users, not only motorists. That legislation crafted in the 1950s fails to equally address vulnerable road users today is not surprising. It is, however, a good reason to look at meaningful reforms to the Act.
The aims of reform include the following, many of which are interdependent:
● clarifying the rights and duties of road users to improve understanding and compliance and reduce conflict between all road user groups,
● acknowledging the fundamental differences between road user groups’ capabilities and vulnerabilities, and recognizing the increased risks faced by more vulnerable classes of road users,
● aligning the law with best practices for safer road use by vulnerable road users,
● reducing the likelihood of a collision involving a vulnerable road user,
● prioritizing enforcement of laws that target activities most likely to result in collisions, injuries and fatalities, and
● reducing the likely severity of injuries resulting from collisions involving vulnerable road users.

To quote HUB’s news blurb on the subject:

The Superintendent of Motor Vehicles, and the Ministries of Justice and Transportation & Infrastructure are reviewing and researching the recommendations, and reaching out to other stakeholders.
“The name itself is biased,” said David Hay, Bike Lawyer and Group Chair. “It’s inherently favourable to people who aren’t vulnerable road users.” The committee recommends renaming it the “Road Safety Act” to be more inclusive and show the rules are about promoting safety for everyone.
The last update to the Act was in 1996 and the last major revision in 1957, but much has changed since then, including cycling growing significantly and becoming a much more viable mode of transportation, along with its benefits of affordability, health, space efficiency, and better air quality.


    1. Why not have a vision zero program? We now have around 2000 road deaths per year in Canada. Should we aspire to having “only” 1000 deaths? 500 deaths? We seem to be so accustomed to the slaughter on our roadways, that it may be difficult to think of zero deaths. But not impossible. If you don’t have this goal, then how can we ever achieve it?

    2. Not sure why you are having a problem. Is it because of the word Vision in the title? Our local city government seems to have a similar problem with the naming of this multi national initiative, despite it being called Vision Zero at the provincial level (where the Motor Vehicle Act changes will be made) and so are calling it Moving to Zero, when referring to Vancouver municipal actions in support of it.

  1. I think this is a really good thing they’re suggesting. I hope that it gets taken up and adopted.
    The auto industry of course will fight against it but we have to persevere and make it happen.

    1. I think it is just as likely the auto industry will use it as a marketing tool. You could probably get a boost in sales by advertising your vehicle as “Vision Zero compliant/approved” and appealing to motorists’ better nature. It’s already happening to some extent at places like Volve, promoting pedestrian airbags et al. Whatever it takes to stay cemented in the public consciousness as a good choice for transportation needs.
      Couple it with expensive, one-time only safety features like modern bumpers and you can turn a fender-bender into the need for expensive parts and repairs. Win-win if you are in the car business and a great reason to barrack for tech solutions to poor choices by humans. Here’s a development that’s emblematic of the situation.
      “According to and the NICB crime statistics the number of tailgate thefts likely is growing due to the extra technology truckmakers are packing into the drop-down (or swing-out) gate. Features such as cameras, hidden steps, exotic materials, and specialty locking mechanisms mean today’s tailgates can cost as much as $1,500 to $2,000 to replace and that’s making them a bigger target for theft.”

  2. There are many classes of roads. What makes sense for a residential road in Point Grey or Marpole may not make sense on Broadway, on Granville, Hwy 99 or Hwy 1.
    One needs to be careful that an anti-car lobby group has hijacked this “vision” aka The Road Safety Law Reform Group. Of course if we all go 20 km/h with separated bike lanes that will reduce fatalities. This makes sense on some roads, but not all.
    Zero fatalities is a lofty and worthwhile goal, of course, but unrealistic in a society with millions of cars and hundreds of millions of trips annually.
    HOWEVER, we need to keep in mind that many roads are devoid of any bikes or pedestrians and that we actually ought to increase speed limits there and/or fine bikes that travel there. Do I see this in this proposal ? Does it talk about costs as fences, crossings or dedicated bike lanes all cost money. Who is paying for all this ?

    1. “anti-car lobby group”? For asking that roads be so safe that there are zero fatalities and serious injuries? What’s wrong with asking drivers to not exceed 30km/hr on our residential streets? Problem is that the only way to do this is with signs every block in both directions. There are many 30km/hr zones in Europe. Why not allow them here?

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