The Star discovers non-motorists’ lives come cheap in Ontario

The Star discovers non-motorists’ lives come cheap in Ontario

(Image: Dylan Passmore)

A lot of cyclists already knew that the price drivers pay for killing a pedestrian in Ontario is absurdly low—but we’re happy to see the Toronto Star now knows it, too. Yesterday, the city’s paper of record noted that the penalty for ending another person’s life with a car is shockingly minimal, provided, of course, the driver is sober. Really, it’s as simple as a $500 fine—no jail time, not even a suspended driver’s licence.

Quoth the Star:

In Donald Kuipers’ death, Obarasiagbon Umanmwen, 39, of Brampton was fined $500 last Thursday after his paralegal, Mark Reynolds, entered a plea of failing to yield on his behalf. The truck driver didn’t have to appear in court. Reynolds told the court his client will forever be troubled by his actions and would also pay a $500 charitable donation.

The following day, Alsea Wilson, 32, of Toronto, was also fined $500 after she pleaded to failing to yield to a pedestrian. Her BMW struck Diana Rowdon, 88, of Mississauga on Oct. 2, 2010. Rowdon died in hospital from a brain injury the next day.

This is one of many instances that tempt us to scream discrimination, but instead we’ll just call it status quo bias: cars are here, and everywhere, so laws and policies are designed to fit around them. The fact that the penalty for killing a cyclist with a door is the same as the penalty for not having a bell on a bike may not be prejudiced—but it’s still absurd.

Is a person’s life worth $500? Highway Traffic Act says yes [Toronto Star]