New Ontario law promises to make roads safer for cyclists
New law requires drivers to maintain at least one metre of space between their vehicle and cyclists
Fines and demerit point deductions will increase for drivers who "door" cyclists — when someone in a parked car opens their door without checking, and hits a passing cyclist.
- Helmet cams capture near-collisions between cyclists, motorists
- Sudbury offers cycling courses to help cut down on collisions
The law will also require all drivers to maintain at least one metre of space between their vehicle and a cyclist wherever possible.
It's a welcome change, says Sudbury cyclist union member Rachelle Niemela.
"If somebody should side-swipe you and hit you, they're automatically in the wrong because they have not given you obviously the one metre."
Niemela noted that, while cycling, she experiences somebody driving too close to her at least two or three times a week.
"Yesterday, I was travelling down Barrydowne and I had a big black truck that passed me within about six inches."
Now that the Ontario government is making it mandatory for cars to leave a minimum of one metre between the car and the cyclist whenever possible, she wonders how that law will be enforced.
"So the challenge is going to be, how are you going to prove that someone passes you within that one metre?"
Sudbury Police spokesperson Cst. Bert Lapalme said somebody filing a complaint would need to have enough information to identify the driver of the vehicle.
"Having said that, any patrol officer — if they notice that that distance is not being respected — could make that traffic stop."
Both Niemela and Lapalme said they hope making the mandatory space a law, rather than just a recommendation, will change the behaviour of drivers.