Submitted by Gurleen Dhessi, consultant, Public Affairs

Effective June 3, 2024, new safe passing distance rules for drivers will add protection for vulnerable road users.

The Province announced new updates to the Motor Vehicle Act to enhance safety for vulnerable road users and encourage active and clean modes of transportation.

“With warmer weather, we’ll be seeing more vulnerable road users, whether it’s pedestrians, cyclists, or people on e-scooters or mobility devices,” says Dr. Emily Newhouse, medical health officer, Fraser Health. “The new regulations emphasize sharing the road and taking precautions to ensure a safer journey for vulnerable road users and encourages active and sustainable modes of transportation.”

Here is what you need to know:

  • Effective June 3, 2024:
    • Safe passing distance regulations:
      New regulations require drivers to maintain a minimum distance of one metre when passing cyclists and other vulnerable road users on roads with a speed limit of 50 km/h or lower, which increases to 1.5 meters on roads with a posted speed limit above 50 km/h.
    • Minimum passing distances are measured between the closest parts of the vehicle and the vulnerable road user or their equipment. For example, the minimum passing distance would apply between a vehicle’s mirror and the handlebar of a bicycle.
    • You may cross over single or double solid yellow lines when safe to do so to maintain safe passing distance.
    • If you can’t pass safely, then you need to slow down to the speed of the vulnerable road user until it’s safe to pass.
    • Police can issue violation tickets. Failing to maintain safe passing distance as described above will result in $368 fine and three driver penalty points.
  • Effective April 3, 2024:
    • Creation of a new light class of e-bikes:
      People 14 and older are able to use a new class of e-bikes with age-appropriate safety precautions, including less power, lower maximum speeds and motors that only operate with pedalling.
    • Framework for automated vehicles:
      Fully automated self-driving is prohibited unless provincially authorized.

“Protecting vulnerable road users requires a four-pronged approach: Safe road infrastructure, safe speeds, safe vehicles and safe road users. This new legislation is meant to improve safety for road users who walk, bike or use other mobility devices on the road. This will make people feel more comfortable using active and sustainable modes of transportation,” says Dr. Curtis May, public health resident physician, Fraser Health. “When people are comfortable cycling, walking and rolling, we increase physical activity, reduce emissions and improve air quality, all of which create sustainable, healthier communities.”

Visit the BC Government website for more information about vulnerable road users, e-bikes and automated vehicles.

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