A new bill introduced in the B.C. legislature proposes amendments to the Motor Vehicle Act, changes Victoria-Beacon Hill MLA Grace Lore said will benefit pedestrians and vulnerable road users.
Bill 23 was introduced April 5 by Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Rob Fleming and set out to impose minimum safe passing and following distances.
“On my bike ride into work this week, I saw folks going to work and school and all the things, on bikes, on e-scooters, pushing strollers, walking, taking the bus,” Lore said. “There are so many ways in our community to get around and people need to be able to do it safely and feel safe using active transportation.”
These changes to the Motor Vehicle Act take into consideration the changing dynamics of B.C. roads as more people opt for active transportation over cars.
“This bill makes some changes to make sure that we’re understanding that vulnerable road users are different than cars and drivers need to take the necessary precautions to protect and make sure that other road users can get where they’re going safely,” Lore said.
Included in the amendments are a three-metre minimum following distance for cars behind cyclists and a one-metre minimum passing distance.
The bill also touches on what Lore calls “vulnerable road users” and protections for pedestrians as well as cyclists, including a broader definition of pedestrian to include people in wheelchairs, people pushing strollers and even those on roller skates.
“I think there is room for everyone to get around in our community,” Lore said. “There’s space and ways for people to get around on foot, on wheels, in cars and we can share the roads.”
The amendment to the act also establishes a framework for enforcement, as well as a window to regulate automated vehicles, putting B.C. in line with other provinces for when automated vehicles are authorized for manufacturing and sale under federal law.