'Ellen's law' gets endorsement from Saint John city council
Council passes call for new law that forces motorists to stay a metre away from cyclists when passing them
Saint John city council added its voice Monday to the call for "Ellen's law," which supporters say would make roads safer for cyclists in New Brunswick after the death of cycling star Ellen Watters.
Council unanimously backed the campaign for legislation that would require drivers to stay a metre away from cyclists when passing them.
Mayor Don Darling said mayors from Fredericton and Moncton are also pledging support for this legislation.
"I am hopeful that with the passing of this and your support council, that it will simply allow me on behalf of council to write a letter to the appropriate ministers to ask this to continue," he said.
Ellen's law: SJ Council unanimously passes call for new law and provincial health and safety active transportation education program—@connellcbc
Cyclists in the province renewed their push for the new rule after Watters's death late last month.
The 28-year old was injured in a collision with a car while on a training ride in Sussex on Dec. 23. She died Dec. 27.
In the wake of her death, her family and friends have orchestrated a campaign to make the one-metre rule a law for motorists in New Brunswick.
- Death of New Brunswick cyclist prompts push for 'Ellen's Law'
- Star New Brunswick cyclist Ellen Watters dies from crash injuries
"We are going to fight to get a law in place called Ellen's law," Emily Flynn, Watters's roommate and fellow cyclist, said in a previous interview with CBC News.
"We want the one-metre rule that's already in effect in some provinces to come into effect in New Brunswick."
Law already in place in other provinces
One-metre laws are already on the books elsewhere in Atlantic Canada.
Under Nova Scotia's Bill 93, drivers can be fined up to $800 for failing to leave proper clearance for passing cyclists. Cyclists, too, face fines of up to $225 for not using bike lanes.
Ontario passed a one-metre law in September 2015. Motorists are required to keep a distance of one metre between the vehicle and the cyclist they pass, or get a $110 fine and two demerit points added to their licence.
Following Watters's death, the Saint John cycling community also called for a change to New Brunswick's Motor Vehicle Act by walking and biking to Saint John's City Hall on Jan. 1.
- Ellen's Law: support growing for 1-metre law following cyclist death
- Cycling accidents up more than a third in Moncton
There the crowd heard from cyclists, advocates and politicians, among them Liberal MLA Rick Doucet, who told the group he would champion changing the legislation.
Provincial government gives 'serious consideration' to policy proposal
Earlier this month, New Brunswick Minister of Justice and Public Safety Denis Landry also issued a statement saying that "the safety of New Brunswickers on our roads and highways is our priority and our thoughts are with the [Watters] family during this difficult time."
While unable to speak to the specifics of the Watters case, Landry said "government has been aware of this policy proposal for several months and is giving it serious consideration."
On Monday, Saint John council also passed a call for a provincial education about road safety for all forms of transportation on provincial roads.