« Ontario's doctors join the cycling lobby | Main | Now I'm a bike-sharing veteran »

August 12, 2011



"Progressive Conservative critic and Waterloo MPP Elizabeth Witmer said the bike promise would be impossible to enforce and amounted to nothing more than a ploy to win votes in the Toronto area.

“It really shows that they’re out of touch with the province of Ontario, particularly the rural areas,” said Witmer."

Too bad. No sympathy here at all.

Earlier this week, I was buzzed by a dumptruck towing a gravel trailer that passed me less than 30 cm off of my left handlebar at well over 80kmph while I was out in "rural Ontario". If I wasn't a stable cyclist, I would have been dead or seriously hurt. As it is, I was forced onto the gravel and did not crash. It was a very near thing though - when the truck passed I was 100% in its blind spot off the right front and the driver had NO idea where I was relative to the truck. The previous week I was forced off the road by another dumptruck which aborted a pass through a curve (the trucker gave me space, but could not see to do so and should have slowed until it was safe to pass.) Earlier this year I was run off the road by a Honda pickup passing a school bus loaded with kids - again I was ok since I saw it coming and could get out of the way but that is not the point - I should not have been put in harm's way by that motorist. The proposed law would not have helped that one but this incident in indicitive of the disregard and lack of respect cyclists face in rural spaces by motorists who place their desire to be someplace 10 seconds sooner over the safety of another human being.

So do I care that the law is "out of touch with rural Ontario?" Not for one second. Driving too fast, impatient and poor passing, following too close, and things like that are out of touch with people staying alive and healthy. And it does not matter if that person is on a bike or in another car - discourtious impatient driving is just plain dangerous - but when the one on the receiving end of this kind of antisocial behaviour is on a bicycle, the results are far more likely to be tragic.

This one touched a nerve.

I would love a law like this. Even more than a law like this I would love to see drivers act in a courtious manner and recognize the needs of other road users and respect each other's space. The dumb thing is, most motorists give me a huge amount of space and are very respectful of my safety when I am in the city. In rural areas? Not as much as they used to, and the penalties for misjudging on the motorist's part there are much more severe there due to high speeds.


I could be wrong, but didn't a PC member from Parry Sound a few years ago try to get the current government to have all rural/secondary highway shoulders paved, so it would be safer for local cyclists as well as draw tourists? I wonder if he was 'out of touch' with rural Ontarians?

It's too bad that living in rural Canada has to be so closely associated with driving.
I'd move a bit further out into the country if there was safer access to the cities by bike.

I know most in rural Niagara support better bicycle infrastructure and don't mind sharing the roads with cyclists so long as they follow the rules.


The problem with a law like this is that it will change nothing.

Who in their right mind drives within three feet of a bike anyways, law or no law? The crazy people that do will keep doing it anyway, not caring or even knowing about the law. What are you going to do, sue them when you're dead?

You only have to look around at a few drivers to see how well the cell phone ban law is being respected.


Hmmmm... perhaps it's not such a "nutty" idea afterall


Nova Scotia already has 'one-metre rule' for cyclists
By Kevin Connor, Toronto Sun

TORONTO - A proposed law in Ontario that would force drivers to keep one metre away from cyclists already exists in Nova Scotia and 20 U.S. states.

Provincial NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said Thursday that if she becomes premier after the Oct. 6 election, she would change the Highway Traffic Act so that car and truck drivers who don’t give a metre when passing a cyclist would be fined.

Variations of the “three-foot rule” are under consideration in many municipalities and provinces.

Cyclists in Nova Scotia must ride single-file in the same direction as traffic.

Drivers are allowed to cross over into opposing lanes if there is no oncoming traffic to give cyclists room.

As well, cars are banned from parking in bike lanes.

The Canadian Cycling Magazine says the new Nova Scotia law is working very well and helps educate motorists.


@bubak When Cheri DiNovo first put this forward as a private member's bill, it had support from police reps, who said that it would be useful part of their enforcement tool kit. It wouldn't just be a matter of individual motorists saying they felt they left enough room -- they would be required to leave at least the one metre.

RC Foster

The problem is not that we need a law; the problem is we no longer educate cyclists how to ride in rural highways and urban cities.

in my day we were taught when you ride on a highway you ride on the left side of the road into oncoming traffic and ride on the left shoulder as traffic passes you, a cyclist stands more of a chance of being struck from behind because they do not see the traffic coming and make sudden moves or get too close to moving traffic. In urban centers cyclists are to obey slow moving laws that a horse, tractor or any slow moving object is expected to use, (stay on or as close to the shoulder as possible and pull over frequently to allow traffic to pass if you are obstructing the orderly flow of traffic). In regards to bike lanes, they need to be constructed in a fashion that they end two car lengths before an intersection to prevent cyclists from balancing in the intersection while waiting for a light to change thus creating a dangerous situation for motorists who have the right of way to make turns, cyclists do not have the right to make a right turn on red and are supposed to dismount and walk their bike across multiple lanes of traffic if it is not safe to make their turn from the proper position on the road way without obstructing traffic.

If these simple rules are taught & enforced there is no need for more laws.


RC, please talk to someone who knows the Highway Traffic Act in Ontario, or consider taking a driving refresher course. Your "knowledge" about cyclists and road behaviour makes me wonder if there are other gaps in your database.
First, cyclists have never in the past 40 years been taught to ride facing traffic. That's the rule for pedestrians.
There is no prohibition against right turns on lights by cyclists. There are right-turn prohibitions at right lights for all traffic users in some jurisdictions, but not Ontario.
Cyclists are urged to stay to the right as practicable, which means cyclists move to the left to avoid hazards, and can take the entire lane if safety requires. Overtaking cars are required by law to "turn out" (aka move over a lane or wait until safe to pass) to get around such a cyclist.
Cyclists are not required to dismount and walk across multiple lanes of traffic to make (presumably) a left-hand turn. Under the Highway Traffic Act, like any other road user, they are to use the appropriate turning lane.
Please, get a driving school refresher course, or surrender your licence.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

Bill Bean

  • North America is eventually going to figure out that, for all the right reasons, we need more bicycles on our roads. Dust off your bicycle and go cycling. And if the gas-burning dinosaurs start to crowd you, it's your road and you paid for it. Take the lane for yourself.

September 2013

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30