Ontario’s new bike law deemed “insanity”

TORONTO — An Ontario NDP MPP is introducing a bill that would require motor vehicle drivers to leave specified amounts of room between themselves and bicyclists.

In zones where the speed limit is 50 km/h or below, the law would require a three-foot space. In 50-to-80-km/h zones, the required space would be four feet. Over 80 km/h? A full five feet.

It would be up to the motor-vehicle driver to ensure the space is left.

The MPP responsible for the bill is Cheri DiNovo, who, before she was elected to Queen’s Park, was a United Church Minister.

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty has responded by saying, while the province might not need a new law, the discussion should help advance awareness of the need to be cautious around bicycles.

Here’s what one of the Canada’s most prominent traffic watchers and commentators Jim Kenzie, said in his blog to about DiNovo’s proposal: “Yikes.”

“You’re riding on a road on such a flimsy contraption that the wind from other road users can blow you into the ditch? And you expect your government and publicly funded health care to support you in this insanity?”

Kenzie continues: “If Ms. DiNovo really did belong to a ‘democratic’ party, new or old, she might recognize that while democracies have some level of obligation to protect minorities, it still is ‘majority rules’, ‘greatest good for the greatest number’, etc.

“This law would force motorists to swerve into adjacent lanes, probably causing even more collisions, in which the cyclists would likely be collateral damage anyway.”

Trucking companies and motorists who share Kenzie’s view should not be too confident the bill will never become law. More than 15 U.S. states have three-foot rules.

Click here for a list of Ontario MPPs, just in case you want to let your elected representative know how YOU feel about the proposed law.

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