If you haven’t heard by now, the rules of road are still changing. As of June 21st, Ottawa police began testing the one meter rule that was passed as part of Ontario’s “Making Ontario’s Roads Safer Act” back in September of 2015. The act was designed to make roads safer for everyone, especially cyclists. The idea behind the act is that if drivers remember to leave 1 metre between themselves and a cyclists when passing to ensure a safe passing, fewer cycling accidents will occur. Ontario drivers who violate this law can face a $180 fine and receive 2 demerit points.
Will the one-meter reduce the chance of an Ottawa cycling accident ?
This new legislation strives to ensure that all road pass cyclists at a safe distance. The Ottawa Police set out on June 21, with one-metre reading device attached to their bicycle. The device then measures the distance between their bicycle and a passing vehicle to determine if the one-meter space between themselves and a cyclist is present. If the vehicle is passing too closely, the device on the Police bicycle will beep.
Ottawa is one of the first municipalities in all of Canada to be using the one-metre device technology. This comes as no surprise as Ottawa has been working on and developing its cycling culture for some time now. With close to 1.2 million Ontarians riding their bicycles on a daily basis, it’s no wonder cycling safety initiatives are paramount. Sadly, any personal injury lawyer in Ottawa will also tell you, some of the worst cases we see are cycling accidents.
Ontario government and cycling safety
As of late, the government has imposed strict consequences for drivers who fail to proceed safely around cyclists. Ontario drivers now face an increased minimum fine of $365 for “dooring” , which is opening a vehicle’s door and causing a cyclist to crash into the vehicle. The hope is with further developments in cycling safety, our roads will eventually have fewer and fewer cycling accidents. The one-metre rule is likely just the beginning of cycling safety rules to come.
On the flip side, cyclists also have to do their share in keeping safe roads. By law, cyclists can also be fined if it is determined that the laws of the road were not followed and common sense safety precautions were not present. Cyclists also face a fined $110 for missing front lights and back reflectors.
If both drivers and cyclists do their part, we can strive together for safer road conditions for all.