January 01, 2017 (Sussex, NB) – The recent tragic death of Ellen Watters, 28, a rising star in Canada’s cycling scene, has sparked more calls for minimum passing distance laws between motorists and cyclists in New Brunswick, her home province and across the country.
The Saint John Cycling Club has posted an Ellen’s Law page on its website, calling for a minimum 1-metre passing distance between motorists and cyclists in New Brunswick, among other safety measures. While many have called for such legislation for years, this proposal now has a name.
The club also provides details about how to pressure provincial legislators, along with a petition (see link below). Rallies took place in Moncton and St. John on January 1 in support of Ellen’s Law.
Ontario was the first Canadian province to enact such a law in June, 2015, requiring a minimum 1-metre passing distance; the lobby group Share the Road was influential in pushing for this legislation. Quebec enacted a law in the summer of 2016 requiring either 1metre or 1.5 metres, depending on the posted speed limit on a particular road. Nova Scotia also has similar legislation reports The Toronto Star. More than 27 US states have also enacted such laws.
When Velo NB advocacy chair, Wayne Arrowsmith, met in November 2015 with New Brunswick officials to talk about a similar safe passing distance law, he described the reception as “lukewarm” reports CBC. Arrowsmith says that he is frustrated that the proposal has been talked about for 18 months, but nothing has been done yet.
A blog entitled “Memories of Ellen” has been set up with stories, comments and fond memories from many people whose lives Watters touched.
Memories of Ellen here.
St John Cycling Club here.
Toronto Star article here.
Ontario’s legislation here:
Quebec’s legislation here.
Map of US states with such laws here.
Pedal’s previous report on Watters here.