Kitchener-Waterloo

Side-by-side cycling no longer prohibited in Region of Waterloo

The Region of Waterloo has removed a little-used bylaw that made it illegal for cyclists to ride side-by-side on regional roads, giving bicycles equal status to Mennonite buggies or farm equipment under the Highway Traffic Act.
The Region of Waterloo is removing part of a regional bylaw, which prohibited side-by-side cycling, as it is already covered under the Ontario Highway Traffic Act. (Jenna Reid/CBC)

The Region of Waterloo has removed a little-used bylaw that made it illegal for cyclists to ride side-by-side on regional roads. 

Regional councillor Jane Mitchell said the change means cyclists will now be able to ride next to one another legally, but as specified in the Highway Traffic Act, they would have to move to the side when cars for approaching cars — like Mennonite buggies or farm equipment. 

"It just says that if a car is coming up behind you if you're cycling side by side, you should move over to the side of the road like any slow moving vehicle," Mitchell said.

Regional bylaw was ineffective 

In the entire time the regional bylaw has been in effect, no cyclist has ever been charged with breaking it, said Mitchell. 

"So basically if you have something in a bylaw that the police never enforce, you never have an accident, and it's looked after by another level of government, why would you have it there?  It's just redundant," Mitchell said.

Council came to this decision on May 24, after a 12-3 vote. Mitchell says she is glad to see it gone. 

"It helps make things clearer on what the actual law is and I think we also need to start thinking about other people who are on the road besides cars," she said.

This is why she thinks that drivers, cyclists and people in slow moving vehicles should be educated on the current laws and regulations.

In addition to removing the side-by-side cycling bylaw, Mitchell said council amended the bylaw to make it legal for rollerbladers and skateboarders to use sidewalks and multi-use trails.

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