With any kind of luck, more people will understand what this bumper sticker on the back of my car means.
"3 feet please" is the mantra of the safe cycling passing distance movement. NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo introduced a private member's bill in the Ontario legislature back in May, seeking an amendment to the Highway Traffic Act to enact a minimum passing distance of three feet between motor vehicles and bicycles on 50 km/h limit roads (with the distance increasing as speed limits increase). You can see some of the details and arguments for the law at my previous post.
The bill passed first reading, thanks to all-party support, and some significant support from provincial lobby groups, such as the Toronto Cyclists Union, the Share the Road Cycling Coalition and several law enforcement officials. You can see video from the press conference on this initiative here.
This past week, DiNovo was a featured speaker at the Share the Road-sponsored Ontario Bike Summit, where she updated the gathering on the bill. She said the bill is going to second reading in the spring of 2011 and is "not receiving much push-back" from the public or politicians. It could be that the adoption of three-foot passing laws by so many American states has given legitimacy to this bill, or it could be simply that Ontarians have been struck by an attack of common sense. In any event, DiNovo says the bill is polling at 70 per cent support with the public.
This bill, and Conservative MPP Norm Miller's paved shoulder private member's bill seem to be trial balloons of a sort. The governing Liberals are sitting back to see if there is public support for these measures before committing whole hog (although the government trial with paved shoulders on Highway 6 on Manitoulin Island suggests the willingness is already there). If you have ever thought about calling your MPP about something, this would be a good time and a good subject.
If you want to get one of these bumper stickers, you can email Joe Mizereck, of Tallahassee, Fla., who runs a three feet please website, where he sells cycling jerseys, T-shirts and stickers. The bumper stickers are $2 US each.