Let us all stand up for Ellen's Law and get New Brunswick cyclists the one-metre of space they deserve.
It is with the recent passing of Canadian cyclist, Ellen Watters, that people of New Brunswick are calling for a one-metre passing law. Her family and friends are organizing a campaign for “Ellen’s law,” a one-metre passing law in which motorists are required to keep one-metre of space between their vehicle and the cyclist they are passing.
Watters, a 28 year old Canadian cyclist who had recently signed a contract with Colavita-Bianchi, recently died from her injuries when she was struck from behind by a driver traveling in the same direction as her outside of Sussex, N.B.. Her family is continuing Ellen’s advocacy for safer roads and have begun a social media campaign for Ellen’s Law. Members of the community are already on board, the Saint John Cycling Group organized “One-metre for Ellen” on New Year’s Day at Saint John City Hall where Council Members were to be attending the annual New Year’s Levee. The hope is that these Members of Council will get on board with Ellen’s Law as well. Over 100 riders showed up to the event in support of Ellen’s Law.
Ontario has been down this road. In the summer of 2011, lawyers Albert Koehl and Bike Law’s Patrick Brown formed and represented a coalition of dedicated cycling groups. They approached the Office of the Chief Coroner requesting that a death review be done regarding cyclists killed in a four year period. After consultation with all stakeholders, the Cycling Death Review was completed. Within this review, Recommendation 12 demanded the Ontario Government to bring a one-metre law which was eventually adopted and passed into law.
There is absolutely no reason the findings of the Ontario Coroner’s’ Office would not have application to saving lives in New Brunswick.
But a law is only good if it is enforced. Read: Ontario’s One-metre passing rule for cyclists not being enforced
Fellow cyclist, Warren Huska, rides with a pool noodle attached to his bike to remind drivers of the law that has been in place since 2015. This trend caught on this summer and other riders began to attach the noodles to their bikes as well. Huska says that the noodle is well received by drivers, some even thanking him for a visual that demonstrates how far one-metre really is.
To the Saint John Cycling Group and all those fighting for Ellen’s Law: Bike Law is more than prepared to share our resources and assistance in any way. Many of our members have been involved in this fight in both the United States and in Ontario.
Let us all stand up for Ellen’s Law and get New Brunswick cyclists the one-metre of space they deserve.
Photo Credit: CBC News
Patrick, of Bike Law Canada, is one of the founding members of the Toronto Bike Union (now CycleToronto), and is a former director. He is a proud contributor to Advocacy Respect for Cyclists [ARC] who have defended cyclist rights since 1996. He and his firm, McLeish Orlando LLP hold the annual Helmets on Kids Campaign in Toronto and sponsor CycleToronto’s annual “Get Lit” program and the City’s Bike Month. In 2013, the firm was awarded the Bicycle Friendly Business Award by the City for promoting cycling in and outside the office.