Posted By ANTONELLA ARTUSO QMI AGENCY
Posted 10 hours ago
Cycling advocates are calling for a new Ontario law that would penalize drivers who get too close.
NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo introduced a private member’s bill Tuesday that would allow police to lay charges if vehicles failed to keep a minimum distance of three feet, or one metre, from cyclists.
It’s a chance to educate bad drivers on safety, DiNovo said.
“Good drivers keep the three-foot rule already.”
Transportation Minister Kathleen Wynne said the province is reviewing its cycling policy and is prepared to look at measures that make it safer for people to opt for bikes over cars.
” I think it’s partly a matter of people getting used to there being cyclists and cars sharing the road,” Wynne said. “We haven’t traditionally had a culture where there have been lots of cyclists on the road with cars.”
Wynne said the problem may be addressed through enhanced driver education rather than a new law.
Premier Dalton McGuinty said he believes there may be enough traffic laws in place to deal with cyclist-driver interactions.
“I’m not sure if it’s an issue, just personally, whether it’s one that really calls for another law or just a greater sense of respect for each other on the road,” he said.
Cycling enthusiasts gathered at Queen’s Park Tuesday to show their support for DiNovo’s bill, which was introduced after a weekend in which four Quebec bike riders were killed in collisions with vehicles.
Eleanor McMahon, founder and chief executive of the Share the Road Cycling Coalition, said she believes the law is necessary to deal with drivers who wouldn’t otherwise respect cyclists.
McMahon’s husband, 44-year-old OPP Sgt. Gregory Stobbart, was killed in 2006 by a motorist who struck him while he cycled near Milton.
“Courtesy is something that has been lacking in our day-to-day motoring,” she said. “We’re all in a hurry. Motorists fail to give cyclists their share of the road. Often decisions are made that cost cyclists their lives.
“Three feet is easy to visualize and it’s an easy distance to measure.”
Toronto police traffic Const. Hugh Smith said cyclists, by law, must travel on the road.
A driver attempting to pass a bike is obliged to give it a wide berth; the cyclist has the right to the whole lane and can choose to move into the centre for safety, he said.
Wayne Scott, a former bike courier and cycling advocate, said a mandatory three-foot law would deal with motorists who act like road hogs.
“A lot of them believe that they’re the only ones who have any right to be out on the road and that’s the way they drive,” he said.