Wednesday, January 26, 2011

It’s hard to keep a righteous crusader down

don quixoteProving once again that politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy, Ontario MPP Dr. Helena Jaczek has once again mounted her trusty high horse in an attempt to curtail fun in the Province of Ontario.
Foiled in her harebrained attempt to legislate the age of motorcycle passengers (blogged on here, here, here, and here) Ms. Jaczek has resurfaced with a Private Member’s Motion to the Ontario Legislature as follows:


That, in the opinion of this House, a select committee be appointed to study the use of non-automobile modes of transportation on highways and private properties in Ontario and to offer recommendations for ensuring the safety of Ontarians who use such modes of transportation.
Specifically, the committee shall investigate and report on strategies for reducing injuries and fatalities related to the use of bicycles and non-automotive motorized vehicles, such as:
1.- Imposing minimum age requirements for operators and passengers of non-automobile motorized vehicles;
2.- Implementing safety training and licensing requirements for operators of non-automobile motorized vehicles;
3.- Requiring the use of protective equipment for operators and passengers of bicycles and non-automobile motorized vehicles; and
4.- Creating regulations regarding the appropriate size of certain classes of non-automobile motorized vehicles relative to operators and passengers.
The committee shall have the authority to conduct hearings, undertake research and do anything else it considers relevant to developing a strategy for reducing injuries and fatalities related to the use of non-automobile modes of transportation in Ontario.
The committee shall be composed of Members representing all geographic regions of the Province of Ontario.
The committee shall present a final report by no later than May 31, 2011.

Note item 1: Imposing minimum age requirements for operators and passengers of non-automobile motorized vehicles. This is clearly just another attempt to resurrect her ill-fated private members bill on this subject, this time hidden in a broader initiative.
In justifying this motion, Dr. Jaczek in a press release states, “In the last 10 years, statistics show us that the number of injuries occurring on all terrain vehicles, snowmobiles, motorcycles and bicycles in Ontario have increased by 66 per cent. It is time to address the safety surrounding these vehicles in a comprehensive way.” Interestingly she offers no evidence of that fact, as if her word was sufficient. Well as we found out the last time she bumbled blindly into this area, her word (and her facts) are neither sufficient nor accurate.
So it’s reality check time (or, trying to keep a politician at least somewhat honest):
According to the latest statistics from the 2007 Ontario Road Safety Annual Report (2007 is the latest year posted online. I don’t imagine the numbers for the 2000-2010 period, if even available, would be much different as the trends are clear), here is the growth in vehicle populations during the 10-year period ending in 2007.
Vehicle class
1998
2007
% increase
passenger car
5,369,972
6,339,389
+18%
motorcycle
98,156
173,314
+77%
motorised snow vehicle
363,737
310,798
-14%
off-road vehicle
125,498
299,849
+139%

So, in the same period where Dr. Jaczek claims injuries have gone up by 66%, the number of registered motorcycles have gone up by 77%, and a stunning 139% in the case of off-road vehicles.
But according to the same source, motorcycle-related injuries only went up by 17% (from 1440 in 1998 to 1685 in 2007). So, if anything, it’s a good news story. But good news does not apparently satisfy our do-gooder Dr. Jaczek. No, she wants us to focus on the bad news so she can succeed in her apparent goal of ultimately getting motorcycles, ATV’s, and other “non-automobile motorized vehicles”  either off the road, or so burdened and encumbered by silly and unnecessary regulation that the average person (that’s us, folks) just  throws in the towel and says the hell with it, sells all their toys, and buys a gas-guzzling SUV instead.
People like her are truly dangerous.

6 comments:

  1. Dear Canajun:

    Stupid is as stupid does... She has the makings of a great self-serving politician. When unable to accomplish anything of significance, they set themselves to the insignificant, in hopes the voter will not know the difference.

    Fondest regards,
    Jack • reep • Toad
    Twisted Roads

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  2. Jack:

    Absolutely right. With all the real issues that need to be addressed, she'd rather be everyone's mama.

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  3. Sigh.... every country has its moronic politicos - delighted to see the first paragraph used perfectly!

    Motorcycle statistics can be manipulated to mean anything for any given purpose. That happened in NZ last year as justification for hiking annual registration fees, even though the stats were subsequently discredited.

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  4. It's sad that this politician thinks that everyone can afford cars and gas for transportation.
    I get that she wants to remove threats by training and license but bikes?

    As a big fan of motorbikes, i choose this as my medium of transportation because it's quite practical - especially for someone like me who only needs transportation for me and myself only! I also don't have to spend that much on gas and
    auto repair.

    Indianapolis
    has quite a good number of people who rides their bike not just for their hobbies - some use it to make ends meet! Most car dealers in Indianapolis are making a living with bikes too.

    If this law is to be suggested in Indianapolis, our economy will suffer a big deal - the same might happen to Ontario!

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  5. Politicians.We all know that they are self serving,self centered egomaniacs who regularly use bad statistics as excuses to get their names on the media. One of the favourites is "speed kills" but it is not true. Less than 7% of accidents can be attributed to speed.(UK Figures)Yet a national witch hunt on speeding is perpetuated. Revenue is the reason.Interesting that many Counties in the UK are now turning off their "SAFETY CAMERAS" because of government cuts.
    Hope this woman fails with her stupidity. Will they ever understand that as adults we are able to make informed decisions for ourselves and families.

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  6. And here I thought we'd heard the last of her. Wishful thinking, I guess.

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