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HomeCranbrook NewsProvince sets new minimum distances for motorists passing cyclists on BC roads

Province sets new minimum distances for motorists passing cyclists on BC roads

Get ready to give cyclists more room on the road, as the provincial government is updating its Motor Vehicle Act to better protect vulnerable road users.

Vulnerable road users, according to the BC government’s website, are anyone on a cycle, motorcycle, an animal or animal-driven vehicle, an electric kick scooter, and an electric wheelchair or mobility scooter.

Under the new regulations, which come into effect Jun. 5, drivers will be required to take extra precautions when interacting with vulnerable road users and ensure they’re maintaining a minimum distance when passing.

Motorists who pass a vulnerable road user on a road with a speed limit above 50 km/h will be required to maintain a 1.5-meter distance when passing, and a one-meter distance when passing on roads with speed limits less than 50 km/h.

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Failure to comply with the new passing requirements could result in a $368 fine and 3 driver penalty points. Motorists who don’t proceed with caution when interacting with vulnerable road users face a $109 fine.

The province said the new regulations aim to keep people safer on BC roads; however, Vice President of the West Kootenay Cycling Coalition, Solita Work, said that they don’t go far enough.

“I totally believe that it’s a step in the right direction. But I think our Motor Vehicle Act favors motor vehicle drivers, even though there are lots of other users out there and many of them are very vulnerable. So, it doesn’t really solve all the problems. The best would be separated safe infrastructure for these other users.”

Work would like to see the province introduce more safe cycling and awareness campaigns to better promote clarity on road and cycling safety, in addition to investments in separate roadways and infrastructure for vulnerable road users.

“Even with a safe passing law it still can’t replace separated safe infrastructure. There also needs to be more of an awareness campaign. They did a fairly successful campaign about drinking and driving. Maybe it needs to be something like that that’s quite widespread regarding safer rules of the road too.”

In addition to the new passing laws, the BC Government also announced it’s introducing a new, lower speed class of e-bikes for residents aged 14 and older with age-appropriate safety precautions, less speed, and motors that only operate while pedaling.

Additionally, the province has also effectively banned fully autonomous vehicles across the province, which came into effect April 5.

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