The City of Kitchener announced this week their new anti-idling bylaw, which moves Kitchener more in line with similar bylaws in the neighbouring cities of Cambridge and Waterloo.
The new rule targets drivers who keep their engines running for more than three minutes while not in active traffic. It is a tactic to help with Kitchener’s goal of an 80% reduction in greenhouse emissions by 2050.
Officials say school zones are particularly bad for idling. With the new bylaw, the City is urging drivers to “do the right thing” and turn off their vehicles as they wait for their children after school.
A fine of $75 could be handed to drivers caught idling. There are a number of exceptions to the bylaw, which include: emergency vehicles, tow trucks, GRT busses, and other essential services.
Meanwhile, in Waterloo the same bylaw has been on the books since 2009 and it has resulted in very few tickets to date. They say the goal is to educate, not enforce, and the hope is that over time people will change their behaviour.
In Cambridge, fines are $40 for idling more than one minute, but bylaw officers haven’t written a ticket there since 2016. It sounds like folks are getting the message by turning the key when not actively driving.
While it’s true the bylaw isn’t a money-maker for the cities, it’s an awareness tool that will hopefully help change bad habits for future generations to come.
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