Thursday, May 20, 2010

Proposed Three Foot Law for Ontario Drivers

The letter below is one I wrote to my Ontario MPP - Frank Klees( Aurora-Newmarket). There has been some proposed legislation that would make it mandatory that when passing a cyclist, a motorized vehicle would have to give a minimum of a three foot wide berth. There are a number of places that this has been passed into Law, including 10 States in the U.S. Given the increasing number of serious and fatal incidents on the roads between cars and cyclists, personally I think this is a good thing.

Mr Klees,

I understand that there has been a private-members bill introduced in the Ontario legislature about a new law that would require cars to give a minimum of a three-foot/one-meter berth when passing a cyclist. News item below:

Given what was said in the news article by some key people, the Premier included, there is likely going to be a lot of resistance to pass such legislation into law – we seem to have too many laws. However, when it comes to altercations between cars and cyclists, which seem to be on the rise, the outcome, regardless of the situation, is never good for the cyclist and in more than a few cases is fatal. As a member of the Newmarket Eagles Cycling club, I ride on the roads in the area of Aurora and Newmarket regularly and have for many years. What is most surprising, is the almost total lack of knowledge that motorists have regarding the rights that cyclists have to be on the road sharing the road with cars. Couple this with, what can only be described as a cavalier and careless attitude towards driving a motor vehicle, that many have to begin with, and that lack of respect for cyclists, and you have a recipe for some serious interactions and altercations, again with the cyclist always coming out on the losing end of it – with serious injuries and in the worst case scenario, dead!

On almost every ride I go on, with me following exactly the rules of the road on my bike, there is typically some interaction with a motorist that has stemmed from, either the motorists lack of knowledge of the rules of the road regarding cyclists, a total lack of respect, or completely careless driving on the part of the car driver. I sometimes wonder if I am invisible out on the road when riding – a scary thought!

It would be un fortunate if this was not passed into law. If the Three Foot law is not passed, I would hope that a full-scale PR campaign of some sort could be launched in it’s place, to try and get the message across to drivers that they need to exercise caution at all times when near or passing cyclists – that’s just common sense, I would think!

Best regards,

Steve Fleck




Totally agree we need to be protected. I always arrive back home with at least one incident that was a little too close for comfort.
How do you think this law would affect the cyclists ability to pass vehicles, i.e. I often zip along the right side on many slow moving cars during rush hour traffic? Would we have to stay behind vehicles if there is not a 3 foot buffer to advance?

Fleck said...


Indeed, I ride 3 - 4 times a week and, while it may not happen every ride, at least once a week, there is a close-encounter with a vehicle of some kind and that's with me following the rules of the road exactly.

Personally, I think it best for cyclists to set as good an example as we can( a tough ask)- that we should follow the rules of the road exactly. They say that going up the right side of a line of cars stopped at a light is not good. I judge each situation and if I don't feel safe doing that, I won't. I'll just wait at the back for more turn to go. That I think is the best thing to do in most situations.

Blair said...

Good post Steve. I am going to borrow yours and send a similar one to my MPP.


Anonymous said...

IS VERY GOOD..............................