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Here's how far B.C. drivers must keep from cyclists, pedestrians under new law


A new law protecting cyclists and pedestrians in British Columbia takes effect Monday, establishing minimum distances that drivers must keep from so-called vulnerable road users.

The new safe-passing law was first introduced by the province in April, when B.C. Transportation Minister Rob Fleming said the goal of the legislation was not only to keep pedestrians and cyclists safer, but to encourage more active transportation on B.C. roads.

The new safe-passing law mandates that vehicles are required to keep at least one metre away from pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, electric scooter and wheelchair users when driving on roadways with speed limits of 50 km/h or less.

For roads with higher speeds, vehicles must keep a minimum distance of 1.5 metres when passing.

The province says the "vulnerable road users" category also applies to people riding animals, such as horses, and people in vehicles that are pulled by such animals.

Drivers passing road users who are in a separated or protected bike lane or on a sidewalk must keep a minimum of half a metre, under the new law.

"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," the Transportation Ministry said in a news release Monday.

New fines for drivers

According to the province, police can now issue fines under the Motor Vehicle Act for drivers who fail to maintain a safe distance when passing vulnerable road users.

Drivers who pass closer than the mandatory distances under the law can face fines starting at $368 and three penalty points on their licence, while the maximum allowable fine under the new legislation is $2,000 plus six months imprisonment, the province said.

"When approaching a vulnerable road user, assess your speed and that of the vulnerable road user," the release says. "If you cannot pass safely, then slow down to the speed of the vulnerable road user, stay back and give them space until you can pass safely."

The province says drivers can cross over a single or double yellow centre line to provide vulnerable road users as much space as possible when passing, however drivers should use their turn signals when doing so. Top Stories

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