Ellen's law request goes to Moncton council

Moncton city councillor ​Greg Turner is bringing a resolution before Monday night's council meeting hoping to add the city's support to a growing movement to improve cycling safety.

Coun. Greg Turner expects unanimous approval to call for law change to make motorists give cyclists space

Ellen Watters, widely hailed as a rising star in Canadian cycling, passed away after being involved in a collision with a vehicle on a Dec. 23 training run. She was 28. (Submitted by Emily Flynn)

​A Moncton councillor is hoping to add the city's support to a growing movement to improve cycling safety and require motorists to stay one metre away from cyclists when passing them.

Coun. Greg Turner is bringing forward a resolution to council on Monday to support the so-called Ellen's law.

"We're looking to put our weight behind and our voice behind it to make sure this becomes a reality in her memory," he said.

Turner was referring to a push for Ellen's law, which is a change to the Motor Vehicle Act that would force motorists to stay one metre away from cyclists when passing them.

Ellen Watters died after being involved in a collisions with a vehicle on Dec. 23, 2016 while on a training run in Sussex.

The New Brunswick-born Watters, who was widely hailed as a rising star in Canadian cycling, was 28.

Earlier this month, Public Safety Minister Denis Landry said "government has been aware of this policy proposal for several months and is giving it serious consideration."

Saint John council has already unanimously supported the campaign to change the provincial legislation.

Turner said he hopes Moncton, by throwing its support behind the idea, may help. Councillors will vote on the resolution and Turner said he expects it will pass unanimously.

But he admits, until the recent tragedy he was not as vigilant about bicycle safety as he is now.

'I've become more aware of it'

Greg Turner expects Moncton council to unanimously pass a motion supporting a change in provincial legislation to require motorists to give cyclists one metre of clearance when passing them. (Tori Weldon/CBC)
"I have to confess that I've become more aware of it in the last few weeks, I probably wasn't as conscientious as I should have been in the past," he said.

Now that he's spoken to people in Moncton's cycling community, he's hoping legislation will be put in place to keep people safer.

"We have to be conscious as a driver to give them the space they need and deserve and certainly the respect as well. I think this is really going to bring it to the forefront for everybody."

'It can be difficult sometimes'

Chris Lewis, a Moncton cyclist, echoes Turner's thoughts.

He said no resolution or legislation will make the roads completely safe for anyone, but awareness helps.

"If there's a law making everybody think twice about giving a bit of space to a bicycle, it's not a bad thing," he said.

Lewis said he is familiar with the dangers of the road.

"It can be difficult sometimes," he said.

"If you're not watching 10 steps ahead of you there's a good chance you're going to get run into the curb by somebody taking a turn or somebody coming too close."

He hopes the city passes the resolution, and the province puts legislation in place.

"It's a step in the right direction to make people start paying attention, make them start thinking there's consequences," he said.