Manitoba politician wants to legislate buffer zone for cyclists

New law would require passing motorists to stay at least one metre away from cyclists

Stuart Dryden/Calgary Sun/QMI Agency

Stuart Dryden/Calgary Sun/QMI Agency

WINNIPEG — A Manitoba politician is pushing for a new law that would require motorists to stay at least one metre away from cyclists whenever they pass them.

Dave Gaudreau, a NDP government backbencher, is putting forward a private member’s bill this week that would require vehicles to obey a one-metre buffer zone around people on bikes.

It would change the current Highway Traffic Act, which only requires motorists to keep “a safe distance” when passing cyclists.

The one-metre rule would provide a specific distance that motorists can visualize, Gaudreau said.

“We all have our kids out on the road, and I want them to have that little extra room that (drivers) might forget.”

The one-metre rule has been promoted for years by local cycling groups, and took effect this year in Ontario. The legislation there penalizes offending drivers through $110 fines and two demerit points.

Private member’s bills rarely become law, but Gaudreau is hoping for support from both his government colleagues and members of the opposition.

“I’m sure they’ll have some support for it. They’re in the same situation. They want to be safe when they’re riding and when their children are on the road.”

Gaudreau has discussed his bill with Manitoba Transportation, and the proposal is expected to come up for debate in the legislature in the new year.

Gaudreau, who represents the suburban constituency of St. Norbert in south Winnipeg, says he’s been clipped by a car while cycling.

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