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Author Topic: Ontario's G1 (Learner's Permit) Freeway Restriction (and loophole)  (Read 4431 times)


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I know I sort of delved into this topic on another thread in the Off Topic forum, but here I would like to discuss this more.

This is something I've always been curious about....why is it that Ontario has this restriction and no one else does on learner's permits. From an experience point of view, this honestly makes no sense to me. I can remember years ago when I did driver's ed lessons, that we never did touch the 410. So what is someone going to do when they complete their first road test and get to the second level of graduated licensing (G2) which allows them basically to drive anywhere they want with a minor passenger restriction. With no prior coaching on using the freeway correctly, a relative moron could easily cause a problem.

One cannot use these roads without a licensed intructor, but here's something interesting when I actually decided to investigate the law, this is what the law says in black and white.

(4) The following highways are designated for the purposes of paragraph 5 of subsection (1):

1. Those parts of the King’s Highway known as Nos. 400, 400A, 401, 402, 403, 404, 405, 406, 407, 409, 410, 416, 417, 420 and 427 with posted speed limits greater than 80 kilometres per hour.

2. All of the King’s Highway known as the Queen Elizabeth Way.

3. Those parts of the highway known as the Don Valley Parkway, the Gardiner Expressway and the E. C. Row Expressway.

4. That part of the King’s Highway known as the Conestoga Parkway from its westerly limit at its intersection with the King’s Highway known as Nos. 7 and 8 to its northerly limit at its intersection with the King’s Highway known as No. 86.  O. Reg. 340/94, s. 5 (4); O. Reg. 149/97, s. 1.

Part 1 was commonly misunderstood by people as meaning driving on any road with a speed limit greater than 80km/h. Of course you may think to yourself, when would a 400 series highway be signed at less or equal to 80km/h? If I recall correctly, Hwy 420 is defined all the way from its freeway portion at Stanley Avenue to the actual Rainbow Bridge, or at least that was the case when the law was written. Of course when the 420 becomes a surface street, it has a lower speed limit.

Parts 2, 3, and 4 are fairly explanatory on the restrictions they contain.

So let's think this over for a second, are there more freeways in Ontario, yup there sure are. The two municipal Hamilton Freeways, the Lincoln Alexander Parkway and Red Hill Valley Parkway come to mind. Even though it becomes sort of pointless, the Hwy 8 bypass is also not listed.

Then there is of course Hwy 115, and Hwy 11, sure they may have RIRO sections, but their freeway sections are practically identical to 400-series sections, even down to exit numbers.

I could be wrong but I do believe the 416 opened after the Linc, so why does the DVP, Gardiner, and EC get cited as a restricted road, but other like the Linc do not.

I wonder how this law will be amended when Highway 412 officially joins the 400 series family.


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Re: Ontario's G1 (Learner's Permit) Freeway Restriction (and loophole)
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2016, 01:01:31 PM »

From what I recall, drivers with the G1 are permitted to drive on a full freeway so long as they accompanied by an accredited driving instructor.  I recall driving from Pickering to Oshawa on the 401 with my driving instructor when I only had my G1.

I also made use of the exception that allows G1 drivers to drive along the 115 on several occasions when I was of that age.

The 406 had sections of highway with only an 80 km/h through the two-lane portion south of Thorold before it was upgraded.  Through St. Catharines, the 406 still only has an 80km/h  speed limit where it winds along the bank of Twelve Mile Creek.
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Re: Ontario's G1 (Learner's Permit) Freeway Restriction (and loophole)
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2016, 02:20:53 PM »

When I had a G1, I recall driving on ON 417 with an instructor, but that's it. I also drove on Ottawa-Carleton Route 174, which, although a county road, was freeway in the sense that it was controlled access (and had a posted limit of 100). Again, that was with the instructor only, as I believed I could not drive legally on any road with a limit higher than 80. Everything else was on side streets. Though I recall doing 85-90 in an 80 zone though  ;-)


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Re: Ontario's G1 (Learner's Permit) Freeway Restriction (and loophole)
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2016, 03:57:04 PM »

I assume the restriction was borrowed from the UK, where motorists with "L plates" are forbidden from driving on motorways except with a driving instructor, even though they can drive on dual carriageways built to the exact same standards and speed limits (including former motorways like the ex-M41) without such a restriction.


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