Saskatoon city council votes in new bike laws, drops one metre buffer

The North Saskatoon Business Association is calling Saskatoon's dedicated bike lane pilot project a failure. File / Global News

Saskatoon city council, after months of discussion, voted to pass a new bicycle safety bylaw.

The vote brings to an end a discussion about bike safety in Saskatoon that began last year when the administration first proposed the bylaw in September.

The new regulations eventually passed with unanimous support but not before a contentious clause, which would have required cyclists to overtake a pedestrian with no less than one metre of distance between them, was dropped.

Read more: Saskatoon city council moves ahead with new bike laws

Ward 7 Coun. Mairin Loewen proposed the motion to remove the clause.

“There are some parts of the city where the one metre buffer cannot be enforced and my concern… is that it’s not really clear to perhaps the casual observer which pathways meet the threshold for enforceability,” she said, specifying bridges and some shared-use pathways.

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Ward 5 Coun. Randy Donauer spoke against the motion, stating the city was missing “a chance to lead the country in pedestrian safety.”

Councillors Loewen, Sarina Gersher, Cynthia Block, Zach Jeffries and Mayor Charlie Clark voted in favour to the amendment and Donauer, Troy Davies, Bev Dubois and Darren Hill opposed it.

Ann Iwanchuk was absent from the meeting.

Read more: Saskatoon draft bylaw proposes child cyclists on sidewalks, 1-metre buffers

The new regulations also prohibit cyclists over the age of 13 from biking on sidewalks that aren’t shared-use pathways and prevents any cyclist from using certain streets – mainly Idylwyld Drive and Circle Drive.

It also requires cyclists to keep their bikes in good condition with functioning breaks and that lights be used after dark.

The bylaw does not require the use of helmets, over the prior objections of safety advocates.

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