In Ontario, the rules of the road are dictated by the Highway Traffic Act (HTA). It was first introduced in 1923 to deal with increasing accidents as motor vehicles became more popular. There have obviously been many new versions of the HTA, but hidden within new laws about cellphones and speed limits, there are some perhaps outdated, and other strange traffic laws that we bet you didn’t know existed.
- When you’re driving your sleigh, there is a certain number of bells that must be attached. 77 (1) – Every person travelling on a highway with a sleigh or sled drawn by a horse or other animal shall have at least two bells attached to the harness or to the sleigh or sled in such a manner as to give ample warning sound.
- You’re not allowed to horse race, especially not furiously: 173 – No person shall race or drive furiously any horse or other animal on a highway.
- You cannot tow toboggans, or a sled, or a skateboard or anything really. 160 – No driver of a vehicle or street car shall permit any person riding, riding on or operating a bicycle, coaster, toboggan, sled, skateboard, toy vehicle or any other type of conveyance or wearing roller skates, in-line skates or skis to attach the same, himself or herself to the vehicle or street car on a highway. So you can forget about tying your in laws to the roof on those long road trips.
- School buses only! 175 (3) – No part of a bus, except a bus that at any time during its current validation period is used to transport children or to transport adults who have developmental disabilities, shall be painted chrome yellow.
- If it’s not tandem, it’s not kosher: 160 – No person riding or operating a bicycle designed for carrying one person only shall carry any other person thereon.
Contrary to popular belief, here are a couple of things that are legal in Ontario:
- Driving barefoot: There is no section in the HTA that says you can’t drive barefoot! If you want your piggies to be free, then go for it, or if you want to drive in your new six inch stilettos, that’s also okay. But if your footwear or lack of it causes you to drive recklessly or causes an accident, then you could get a traffic fine for careless driving.
- Ontario is the only province where it is not illegal to cross the solid lines on the highway. The solid line means only that it may be unsafe to pass. It is meant as an advisory or warning. If you pass and get in an accident, however, then you can be charged.
- You don’t need a driver’s licence to drive a vehicle – on private property, that is. The HTA doesn’t apply to private property so you can drive a car, an 18 wheeler, whatever you like on private property. However, don’t think you can get away scot free just because you’re not on a highway. The Criminal Code of Canada still applies, and you can be charged with dangerous operation of a vehicle, impaired driving and failing to remain at an accident, no matter where you are driving.
Every situation is different. Remember you have a right to fight your ticket. At Bulwark Legal Services we provide free consultations. You can go to our website and send us a copy of your ticket. If you’re not sure how to fight a traffic ticket, we are.