Emotional rallies were held today pushing for legislation to improve safety for cyclists in the province.
The events follow the death last week of well known cyclist and Apohaqui native Ellen Watters, who was hit by a vehicle while training Dec. 23rd while home for the holidays. She had been living in Ottawa and was set to cycle professionally this year.
WATCH: Death of well known New Brunswick cyclist prompts call for better cyclist safety laws in province
Hundreds of people turned out for a rally in Saint John, with a similar event held in Moncton. Watters’ mother attended the Saint John event. “I am just overwhelmed and I know Ellen, if it was for anybody else but herself she’d be just whooping to have this go,” Nancy Watters said.
The rally featured emotional speeches from friends of Ellen who themselves have been impacted by cycling accidents. It also brought out anger from those frustrated with the Gallant government. Wayne Arrowsmith of Velo NB told the crowd the government has a proposal surrounding the one metre rule, now called Ellen’s Law, but hasn’t yet acted upon it. The law would require vehicles to give at least a metre clearance when passing a cyclist.
The provincial government is being called upon to pass Ellen’s Law during the spring sitting of the legislature. MLA and cabinet minister Rick Doucet, a cyclist himself, promised to champion the cause. “It’s my first opportunity to work with it because I haven’t worked on this file in the past,” Doucet said. “I certainly understand the frustration so I’d like to work with them on it”.
Road safety was always a concern for Ellen, according to her mother. “I know that she really totally didn’t feel safe on these roads because she spoke about being in Tucson (Arizona) and how safe she felt on those roads,” Nancy Watters explained.
Doucet says he plans to set up a meeting on the issue within two weeks.