To help reduce cycling collisions and better protect everyone on the road, the Province of British Columbia is significantly increasing the fine for “dooring.”
Effective Sept. 21, 2020, anyone opening the door of a parked car when it is not reasonably safe to do so (known as “dooring”) will face a fine of $368. This new fine is about quadruple the current fine of $81, which is among the lowest in Canada.
“Dooring can cause serious injury, and the new fine reflects that,” said Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “But it is preventable, which is why we are also investing in public education. We want to make sure everyone who uses the roads does so safely.”
Dooring is a common safety issue for cyclists in communities around the province. The higher fine, along with a public education and awareness campaign, will help raise the profile of cyclists. It will also help improve cyclists’ safety by making drivers more aware of their actions.
“With cycling and other modes of active transportation becoming more popular, it’s important to have the right policies in place for people to safely commute and get around in our province,” said Spencer Chandra Herbert, MLA for Vancouver-West End. “Dooring can kill or severely injure a person. Making the offence of dooring equivalent to distracted driving and excessive speeding offences in terms of the fine is another necessary step to help keep our most vulnerable road users safe.”
Bowinn Ma, MLA for North Vancouver-Lonsdale, whose community suffered a death in 2019 as a result of dooring, said, “It is enormously dangerous to carelessly open a door into the pathway of a person moving on a bike. This increased fine sends a strong signal of the level of accountability that is expected of people who are operating a vehicle, even when the engine is off.”
Working towards Vision Zero, a strategy to eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries, while increasing safe, healthy and equitable mobility for everyone, is a goal set out in Move. Commute. Connect. – B.C.’s strategy for cleaner, more active transportation. Education and enforcement, along with the construction of high-quality active transportation infrastructure, will increase road user safety and comfort.
“Increasing the amount of the fine for dooring is a positive step forward in reforming our outdated Motor Vehicle Act,” said Navdeep Chhina, acting executive director, HUB Cycling. “We must continue to make our roads safer by building safer infrastructure and increasing fines for motorist negligence risking injury or death of vulnerable road uses, as well as for aggressive driving, harassment of people cycling and walking, and for theft or tampering with bicycles.”
This change in the dooring fine complements the objectives of government’s CleanBC plan, as it helps to provide encouragement of safe active transportation for all ages and abilities. CleanBC is a pathway to a more prosperous, balanced and sustainable future. CleanBC was developed in collaboration with the BC Green Party caucus and Andrew Weaver, MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head, and supports the commitment in the Confidence and Supply Agreement to implement climate action to meet B.C.’s emission targets.
- B.C. has the highest percentage of active transportation trips for commuting to work out of all the provinces.
- In 2019, 10% of people who commuted to work in the province used active transportation.
- 33% of school-age children primarily used active transportation, and 8% of all college and university students commuted using active modes of transportation.
- B.C.’s Active Transportation Strategy seeks to double the percentage of trips taken by active transportation by 2030.
Active Transportation Infrastructure Grant Program: www.gov.bc.ca/activetransportationgrant
Move. Commute. Connect., B.C.’s active transportation strategy: https://cleanbc.gov.bc.ca/active/