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Manitoba backbencher fails to pass new one-metre bike law

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A Manitoba politician has failed in his attempt to get a new bicycle-safety law through the legislature. Tamara Forlanski/Global News

WINNIPEG — A Manitoba politician has failed in his attempt to get a new bicycle-safety law through the legislature.

Dave Gaudreau, a backbench member of the NDP government, put forward a private member’s bill that would have required drivers to give cyclists at least a one-metre buffer while passing them.

Gaudreau says the current law, which requires drivers to maintain a non-specified “safe distance,” is too vague.

The Opposition Progressive Conservatives debated the bill until the allotted time ran out.

The legislature is scheduled to break next week in advance of the April 19 provincial election, and it’s unlikely Gaudreau will be able to bring the bill back before then.

The Tories said Gaudreau failed to consult police officers and municipalities, which would bear extra costs if the proposal went ahead.

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“It’s not that the idea is without merit … but we know as legislators that we have to ensure that the proper input is brought forward,” Tory house leader Kelvin Goertzen said Tuesday.

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Another Tory, Reg Helwer, said municipalities could be forced to widen roads to ensure there was enough room for the one-metre zone.

“There would be huge infrastructure costs that are downloaded upon municipalities without any consultation,” Helwer said.

Gaudreau said his idea has already been adopted in Ontario and other jurisdictions.