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Behind-the-Wheel

New road rules coming in for passing pedestrians and cyclists

New passing rules

Effective June 3, drivers passing pedestrians, cyclists or other prescribed persons will be subject to new rules in the Motor Vehicle Act.

The rules are designed to provide better protection for vulnerable road users by establishing minimum separation distances from passing vehicles.

According to the announcement from the B.C. government, vulnerable road users protected by this law include:

• Pedestrians

• Cyclists

• Motorcyclists

• An animal or animal-drawn vehicle

• An electric kick scooter

• An electric wheelchair or a mobility scooter

Minimum passing distances are:

• Highways with maximum speeds of 50 km/h or less: 1 metre

• Highways with maximum speeds over 50 km/h: 1.5 metres

• Vulnerable road users in separated and protected cycling lanes and on sidewalks: 0.5 of a metre

The minimum passing distance is measured from the furthest edge of a passing motor vehicle, such as a side mirror, deck or load and the furthest part of the vulnerable road user or their equipment, such as an arm, handlebar or mirror.

In the past, solid lines generally required a driver not to cross over them. Once this new law has taken effect, drivers may cross these lines to provide the minimum passing distance, but only if it is safe to do so and does not affect the path of another vehicle.

A traffic ticket for failing to maintain prescribed minimum passing distances will cost $368 and result in three penalty points.

The New Law

157.1 (1) A driver of a motor vehicle must not cause or permit the motor vehicle to pass a person referred to in subsection (2) unless

(a) the action can be taken safely, and

(b) the following distance can be maintained between the vehicle and the person while the vehicle is passing the person:

(i) subject to subparagraph (ii), a minimum distance of 1 m;

(ii) if a prescribed minimum distance applies, the prescribed minimum distance.

(2) Subsection (1) applies in relation to the following persons:

(a) a pedestrian;

(b) a person who is operating or is on a cycle;

(c) a prescribed person.

(3) A driver who takes an action that would otherwise contravene section 151 (b), (f) or (g) or 155 (1) does not contravene the provision if

(a) the action is taken while the driver is causing the vehicle to pass a person in compliance with this section, and

(b) the driver has ascertained that the action can be taken safely and without affecting the travel of another vehicle.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.



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About the Author

Tim Schewe is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. He has been writing his column for most of the 20 years of his service in the RCMP.

The column was 'The Beat Goes On' in Fort St. John, 'Traffic Tips' in the South Okanagan and now 'Behind the Wheel' on Vancouver Island and here on Castanet.net.

Schewe retired from the force in January of 2006, but the column has become a habit, and continues.

To comment, please email

To learn more, visit DriveSmartBC



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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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