Drivers gear up for new rule regarding vulnerable road users

Drivers gear up for new rule regarding vulnerable road users

New rules for drivers in B.C. kicked into place June 3, meaning they must now keep minimum distances from people walking and riding on roads.

The new rules require drivers to keep at least one metre away when passing if the speed limit is 50 km/h or less, and a metre and a half where the speed limit is higher.

Vulnerable road users include pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, people on animals or in vehicles pulled by animals, and those who use electric wheelchairs, mobility scooters and electric kick scooters.

Kate Harris, owner and CEO of Drivewise BC, tells CHEK News a yardstick is a handy reference for drivers.

The distances are measured from the furthest protruding part of a passing motor vehicle, such as a mirror, to the furthest protruding part of a vulnerable road user or their equipment, such as a handlebar.

“Here we have our metre stick on this vehicle, the furthest point would be this mirror. So, that’s one metre away from a cyclist or another vulnerable road user,” Harris said.

That includes driving on a single-lane road if a vulnerable road user is on the side. Drivers must wait until it’s safe to cross the solid yellow lane to drive around pedestrians or cyclists.

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Not everyone behind the wheel, however, is aware of all the changes.

“All of our new drivers that are doing our program right now are all to date on this now. But it’s the drivers who are on the road right now that have been driving for a while who may not know the new rules, and how to keep people safe,” Harris said.

Cyclists say the new rule will make them feel safer on the streets.

“I think it’s great. I get nervous if I do have to go on the road,” said one cyclist.

“Just yesterday, I was buzzed by a bus, actually, and it’s a pretty scary experience when you are two or three feet away from something that size that is not going to stop,” added another.

Fines start at $109 plus three penalty points for drivers caught violating the new rule.

The maximum fine is $2,000 and six months in jail.

READ ALSO: ‘No shortage of excessive speeders’: BC Highway Patrol issues more than 2,830 violation tickets over 4 days

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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