Published on June 29th, 2016 | by Christine Allum

Two Wheels or Four, We Are in This Together.

Whether for a fun family ride, to keep in shape, or commuting to and from school or work, cycling is becoming a popular way to get around on Ontario’s roads.

There has been a long standing commitment to sharing the road safely in Ontario, and in 2015 provincial legislation passed to help increase it even further. One of the changes is the requirement to leave one-metre of space between a car and a bike when passing, where practicable.

As cyclists, drivers, commuters, parents and spouses, we asked a few friends of CAA to share their thoughts on the new law.

Patrick Mangion, York Region resident tells us “Personal safety is the single biggest inhibitor preventing cycling from becoming a widely adopted form of transportation. From my perspective, as an avid cyclist and someone who drives every day to and from work, bike riders simply don’t trust the actions of drivers when sharing the road.”

"Share the Road" warning sign on a straight forest road in British Columbia, Canada.

Lori Newton from Bike Windsor Essex echoed similar concerns, “Most motorists are very considerate of bicyclists. However, now and again a motorist seems to view a cyclist as an obstacle to reaching their destination and they pass leaving only inches between their side mirror and the rider. This is dangerous and terrifying”.

“Traffic safety is important to me as a Transportation Planner but even more so as the father of a 10 year old” says David McLaughlin; a parent, cyclist, driver and planner who works extensively on designs and plans to support all road users.

David continues, “My wife and I have educated our daughter on safe walking, on-road cycling techniques, that wearing a bike helmet is a must, and general rules of the road.” All things, we as drivers and cyclists should understand and apply every time we’re out on the road.

David’s hopes for his daughter, echo ones we’re sure every parent can agree with, “Now that my daughter is walking and cycling to school and to visit friends on her own, her world is expanding and the one-metre passing law, traffic safety improvements and education initiatives together can only help make her expanding world safer.”

This new legislation is one way government is supporting the choice to use two wheels to get around safely this summer. But we all have a role to play. Patrick aptly reminds us, “Yes, it’s the role of our various levels of government to provide the cycling infrastructure, but respect, and some patience, will go even further in the safe shared use of our roadways.”

Let’s keep our families, friends and neighbours safe by having patience to pass safely, taking that extra glance in our mirror to watch for cyclists and being respectful of those around us whether they’re on two wheels or four. For information on changes to the law that impact you, go to headsupontario.ca.

Thank you to Lori Newton of  Bike Windsor Essex; David McLaughlin and Patrick Mangion for their perspectives.

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