Failure to follow New Brunswick’s ‘one-metre rule’ will result in fine, loss of demerit points

Click to play video: 'Ellen’s Law takes effect Thursday, drivers must give cyclists one metre of space' Ellen’s Law takes effect Thursday, drivers must give cyclists one metre of space
WATCH ABOVE: The one metre rule becomes law on Thursday and drivers could be fined and receive demerit points if they fail to give cyclists adequate space on the road. Global’s Adrienne South has more on Ellen’s Law and what drivers need to know – May 31, 2017

Starting June 1, 2017 drivers in New Brunswick will be legally required to give cyclists at least one metre of space on all roads across the province.

“Ellen’s Law”, also know as the “one-metre rule” could cost drivers who don’t share the road a $172.50 fine, along with the loss of three demerit points.

READ MORE: ‘Ellen’s Law’ to take effect in New Brunswick on Thursday

Cyclist Andrew Titus said he thinks the law is a great idea, and said it’s unfortunate it took a tragedy to make the one-metre rule law.

“I think that it’s an awesome, excellent idea. As an avid cyclist myself I believe that the roads are there to be shared,” Titus said.

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He said many cyclists are extremely aware of cars and other vehicles and said being aware of each other in “equal proportion” makes sense.

“I’ve been hit by cars twice, and again I’m really sad that it had to come to this, but I’m really happy that the powers that be have taken it on and made this so it’s now a law and I hope that everything gets along a lot better as a result,” Titus said.

He said he was hit once at an intersection in downtown Fredericton and said he was hit from behind by a vehicle another time.

Titus said he was lucky to survive both incidents.

READ MORE: Cyclists gather for Ellen’s Tour de Sussex in memory of Ellen Watters

Driver Darrell McLellan said his son is a cyclist and often avoids biking on roads because of vehicles coming too close to him.  He said his son has taken up running because he finds it safer.

“It’s our responsibility as drivers, I think, to look out for [cyclists],” McLellan said.

Savage’s Bicycle Centre owner Matthew Savage said he hopes drivers will give the appropriate space.

“It’s a double-edge sword of course. It’s a pretty sad circumstance that lead to that, on the upside of that it’s long overdue for sure and we’re really excited about it,” Savage said.

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He said he’s had some “close calls” and hopes to see drivers give cyclists the required one metre.

“Treat a cyclists as you would [treat] a tractor on the side of the road, when you see that on a country road,” Savage said.  “You wait for an appropriate time to pass rather than get through.”

READ MORE: Friends remember New Brunswick cyclist Ellen Watters, call for provincial road safety change

Savage said cyclists all want to get home to their families at the end of the day.

New Brunswick Government House Leader Rick Doucet told Global News people need to realize giving cyclists space is now the law.

“It’s very important that every one knows that cyclists on the road [and drivers] have a shared responsibility: Both the cyclist and the motor vehicles and it’s important that we share the space,” Doucet said.

Department of Justice and Public Safety director of communications Elaine Bell told Global News the province’s Driver’s Handbook is currently also being updated to include the one-metre law.

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Bell said the update should be complete by the end of the year and said driving instructors will also be provided with information to incorporate into their curriculum.

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