Nfld. & Labrador

Personal loss poignant moment during House of Assembly debate

Mike Dinn was 48 when he died as the result of a cycling accident on the Outer Ring Road.

Government proposes introducing highway cameras to combat speed, unsafe school zones

Mike Dinn, a well-respected teacher, was 48 years old when he died following a cycling collision on the Outer Ring Road. (Submitted)

The sting of his brother's death was evident when Paul Dinn rose in the House of Assembly on Thursday during a debate over amendments to traffic laws.

"That was my brother," said the PC MHA, referencing earlier comments made by fellow Tory Kevin Parsons about a fatal crash on the Outer Ring Road a decade ago. 

Mike Dinn, 48, was riding his bike from Torbay, where he taught at Holy Trinity High School, on June 23, 2009. His route took him on the Outer Ring Road. 

"It was the last day of school. Clear skies, blue skies," Paul Dinn said.

"He was going home to meet with his sons, take them swimming, start the summer off.… Well, he ended up being driven into a flatbed. It hit here at the chest, breaking his neck."

Tory MHA Paul Dinn rose in the legislature Thursday, during second reading of amendments to the Highway Traffic Act, to tell a personal story. (CBC)

Over the next several days Paul Dinn and his family, including NDP MHA Jim Dinn, made the difficult decision to take their brother off life support. 

"There's nobody who can relate to safety on the roads until you have somebody who dies from that," Paul Dinn said to a hushed legislature, his voice breaking at times. 

Traffic cameras

The provincial government has proposed making further amendments to the Highway Traffic Act. A second reading happened in the legislature late Thursday afternoon. 

"These amendments will permit us to move forward to allow the following offences to be eligible for enforcement by an image-capture enforcement system: failing to stop at a red light, speeding offences on highways, speeding in construction zones, speeding in school zones and passing a school bus while embarking or disembarking children," said Service NL Minister Sherry Gambin-Walsh.

Three other new rules would have to be introduced stemming from traffic cameras: prohibiting the obstruction of a plate to prevent the plate from being captured by an image-capture system, damaging the image-capture system and altering or removing the image-capture system.

A ghost bike was placed on the side of the Outer Ring Road by Mike Dinn's family after the fatal collision in 2009. (CBC)

Gambin-Walsh said the offences have fines ranging from $100 to $400.

Perhaps not surprisingly, it was a government proposal Paul Dinn was behind. 

"I applaud anything we can do to make our roadways safer. We have to keep the dialogue going." 

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About the Author

Ariana Kelland is a reporter with the CBC Newfoundland and Labrador bureau in St. John's.