B.C.: Cyclists want Ontario’s One-Metre Rule Between Cars/Bikes

Update:

What is the penalty to drivers for not leaving a minimum of one-metre distance when passing a cyclist? The penalty for not leaving a minimum one-metre passing distance is a set fine of $85.00 plus a $5 court fee plus a $20 victim surcharge fine for a total payable of $110.00. Drivers who contest their ticket by going to court may face a fine of up to $500 if found guilty (fine range is $60 to $500). Upon conviction, two demerit points will also be assigned against the individual’s driver record. photo by fightyourtickets.ca
B.C. Cyclists want the B.C. government to adopt Ontario’s one-metre spacing rule between vehicles and cyclists which came into effect on Sept. 1/15. On that date, Making Ontario’s Roads Safer Act, Bill 31 came into effect. It means that motorists must give cyclists 1 metre (3.28084 feet) of space when passing them. photo by fightyourtickets.ca

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Reaction on social media to a CBC video about the new law has been interesting, to say the least

A Metro Vancouver cycling advocacy group is calling on the B.C. government to adopt a controversial new Ontario law that requires motorists to give one metre of space when passing cyclists.

Ontario is beginning to enforce the new legislation, passed last September, aimed at making roads safer. It includes a $110 fine and two demerit points for motorists who don’t give cyclist at least one metre of space.

“It’s actually something that we’re pushing for here in B.C.,” said Erin O’Melinn, executive director of HUB.

“It’s indicating to motorists when you have a law like this that you can’t just squeeze by people on bikes, you have to wait until it’s safe.”

Reaction to a CBC News video about police pulling over drivers as part of an awareness campaign included many complaining that vehicles would have to cross the centre dividing line to give cyclists a wide enough berth.

But O’Melinn said that is the safest tactic for keeping cyclists safe.

“You can go into the opposing lane if it’s safe to do so, and if it’s not then you need to slow down and wait until it is safe,” she said.

Police in Ontario agree. They say crossing the centre dividing line is exactly what drivers should do when it’s warranted and safe, just as they do on rural roads to pass slower vehicles.

Some Facebook comments called the law “hypocritical” and “sick.”

“What’s a better way than extorting citizens already taxed to drive a car and on the road and on gas only to deal with idiotic cyclists who never abide by any traffic laws ever,” wrote Nick O’Brien.

In B.C. there are no rules around how close a motorist on the road can legally get to a bike. However, there is a law that says cyclists must stay as far to the right as is practical.

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