Todd Benson posted about Press Release: Cyclist Death Sparks Call for Safer Passing Law in BC on Facebook 2017-07-08 11:13:03 -0700Safer Passing Law: Press Release: Cyclist Death Sparks Call for Safer Passing Law in BC
Cyclist death sparks call for Safer Passing Law in BC
JULY 6, 2017 – VANCOUVER, BC.
The death of rising cycling star Ellen Watters has top Canadian cyclists and local advocacy organizations calling for a Safer Passing Law to protect BC’s vulnerable road users. As professional cyclists from across North America converge on Metro Vancouver for the BC Superweek race series, Watters, killed by a motorist on a training ride in December 2016, is still top of mind. Her breakout performance in this series last year led to her first pro contract.
According to ICBC, 740 cyclists will be injured and seven will be killed by cars in BC from June through September. Former teammates of Watters in town for the series will train on BC roads and are keenly aware of the risks. Two-time Olympian Tara Whitten from The Cyclery-4iiii team shares,
“Losing Ellen was a horrible reminder that far too often we are not safe. It was a reminder of all those times when I thought I was visible to motorists only to feel the blast of a vehicle passing way too close, as a harsh reminder of my vulnerability.”
The BC Road Safety Law Reform Group is recommending a Safer Passing Law that would require:
- A motor vehicle driver pass a vulnerable road user (a person cycling, walking, using a wheelchair, riding a horse) by at least 1.5 metres; and
- If there is more than one lane for traffic in the same direction, a motor vehicle driver would have to have to pass in the lane next to the one a vulnerable road user is traveling in.
This law would make cycling and walking safer and more comfortable for road users. As Watters’ sister Lily Watters, a New Westminster resident, and avid cycle commuter states:
“Unfortunately, many of us already know about these risks from personal experience, or the loss of someone dear...we need better laws to keep cyclists safe on the roads.”
Safe passing distances have been specified by over 27 jurisdictions in North America, including Ontario,Quebec and Nova Scotia as well as several in Europe. Following the death of Ellen Watters, the New Brunswick legislature moved quickly to pass “Ellen’s Law”- a safer passing distance law. The BC Road Safety Law Reform Group is calling on supporters to visit bccc.bc.ca/safer_passing and share their experiences with vehicles on the road. Cyclists are also encouraged to share their experiences online by Tweeting to @bccycle and using the #PassSafeBC hashtag.
ABOUT THE BRITISH COLUMBIA CYCLING COALITION
The British Columbia Cycling Coalition and our 20 member organizations represent approximately 50,000 supporters across B.C. We work with governments, businesses and organizations to enable everyone in B.C. to safely cycle for their daily trips, recreation and tourism.
ABOUT THE BC ROAD SAFETY LAW REFORM GROUP
The BC Road Safety Law Reform Group is comprised of the Trial Lawyers Association of BC, the British Columbia Cycling Coalition (BCCC), HUB Cycling, and health researchers.
For further information, photos, and interview requests:
● Richard Campbell, BC Cycling Coalition, firstname.lastname@example.org, 778-891-1764
● Justine Clift, Teammate, email@example.com, 778-228-5215
● Lily Watters, Family Member, firstname.lastname@example.org, 604-836-3623
● Tara Whitten, Teammate, email@example.com, 780-893-0828
Lily Watters - Sister of Ellen Watters
When we advocate for better, more inclusive rules on our roadways, we make ourselves accountable for our joy in cycling. I have been a cycling commuter since I started riding my bike to school at 9, and a "lifestyle" cyclist since a few years before that. I've lately started racking up kilometers on a road bike, so I can say without exaggeration that riding a bike has been a big part of my life for a long time. But I don't want to give the impression that I'm just in this to increase my personal freedom. This isn't just about making safe decisions as individuals or getting more of what each of us may want in our cycling niche, but being ambassadors for our sport and our choice of transportation. Taking a critical look, and speaking up about cycling safety forces us to acknowledge the risk involved. Unfortunately, many of us already know about these risks from personal experience, near misses for a friend, or the loss of someone dear. There is too much at stake to only complain about motorists after a ride, and too much to be gained to only post our happiness on social media. We already know what a group of focused cyclists can accomplish when they challenge themselves in their discipline; let's put that to work in advocating for better laws to keep cyclists safe on the roads.
Tara Whitten- 3x World Champion, 2x Olympian and Olympic Bronze Medalist, Teammate
Cycling is a beautiful sport in all its forms: as recreation, as competition, as transportation. I believe that a society that values cycling will be healthier, happier, and greener, by reducing the use of cars and getting more people more active more often. However, for this to happen, cyclists need to feel safer on our roads. Losing Ellen Watters was a horrible reminder that far too often we are not safe. It was a reminder of all those times when I thought I was visible to motorists only to feel the blast of a vehicle passing way too close, as a harsh reminder of my vulnerability. Change is needed at all levels: from cyclists, ensuring that they are visible at all times with lights and reflective clothing; from motorists,ensuring that their attention is always on the road, and from government, ensuring that rules, regulations, and education are in place to create safer roads for all road users. I believe that cyclists have a right to feel safe on our roads, and I believe that if we work together, we can make that happen!
Let the Premier and Ministers Know You Want a Safer Passing LawTell them about your close calls or crashes caused by drivers passing too closely. Let them know that a safer passing law and enforcement would would help protect your family and friends.410 PEOPLE HAVE SENT EMAILS90 needed to reach 500410 PEOPLE HAVE SENT EMAILSBC Cycling:firstname.lastname@example.orgThank You for Supporting a Safer Passing LawDear recipient.first_name_or_friend
Thank you for supporting safer cycling in B.C. Your letter really helps!
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Your donation will help us reach more people who are passionate great cycling:
BC Cycling Coalition
Please join me in helping to make BC safer for people who cycle and walk. Send a email in support of a Safer Passing Law in BC requiring motor vehicles to pass those cycling and walking by at least 1.5m.
Let the political leaders know how a Safer Passing Law would make cycling safer and more enjoyable for you and your family and friends.
Here is the message I just sent:
Tell them about your experiences of riding on BC's roads and dealing with traffic. It only takes a minute or two and will really help make a difference!
Your generous contribution will help us mobilize the support needed to convince the BC Government to make cycling & walking safer for your family, friends and everyone else by adopting a 1.5m Safer Passing Law through:
- Outreach to organizations and businesses
- A letter writing campaign to show the government that a lot of people a safer passing law
- A pledge so that drivers can commit to safer passing
- Meetings with politicians and officials
- Press releases, op-eds and on-line ads
Todd Benson posted about A Billion for Biking & Walking Petition on Facebook 2015-11-10 23:37:50 -0800Tell the BC Government to enable everyone to cycle & walk safely 4 their daily trips by investing a #Billion4Bikes
Bold Action Now
It is time for bold action now to enable every person, including older adults and children, in BC to cycle or walk safely for their everyday trips and recreation.
Investing $1 billion over ten years in cycling and walking will send a strong message to the world that BC is serious about addressing Climate Change.
Cycling and walking will become attractive choices for everyone, leading to significantly improved fitness and reduced greenhouse gas emissions, pollution, congestion, and traffic injuries and fatalities. The paths and protected bike lanes could also be used by people in wheelchairs and other mobile devices.
Investing in cycling and walking will benefit the economy by increasing tourism, reducing healthcare costs, increasing workplace productivity, attracting talented workers, and reducing the societal costs of traffic fatalities and injuries.
Cycling is Popular
There is broad public support for cycling improvements. In the B.C. on the Move Engagement Survey, 72% of respondents supported enhancing cycling infrastructure. Cycling is popular. Almost 70% of adults in BC ride a bicycle at least once a year, 42% at least once a month and 25% at least once a week. Many want to cycle more, with around 65% indicating they would ride more if there were separated bike lanes that protected them from traffic.
A Transportation Bargain
On a per dollar basis, we all benefit more from cycling more than other modes. While bike paths and protected bike lanes are a bargain that will benefit far more people per dollar invested than other transportation projects, it does take a significant amount of cash to build networks of them in communities around the Province. For example:
- Metro Vancouver: $850 million
- Capital Regional District: $275 million
- City of Kelowna: $267 million (cycling and walking)
- City of Chilliwack: $27 Million
- City of Kamloops: $13 Million
At current rates of investment, these plans will take 30, 40 or even 50 years to complete, leaving people to brave busy roads on their bikes or more likely, not bothering to bike at all. Today's children will be grandparents by then.
The Provincial investment combined with local and federal funds will enable the completion of ambitious local and regional plans across BC. For example, the Metro Vancouver Regional Cycling Strategy predicts that upon network build out, cycling will increase to 10% of trips. The CRD Regional Pedestrian and Cycling Master Plan predicts cycling network build out cycling mode share will increase to 15%.
The funding for the $1 billion investment could come from a variety of sources including an increase in the Carbon Tax, predicted budget surpluses, a reallocation of transportation budget, cutting the tax break on those earning over $150,000 or a tax on sugary drinks.
By providing people with practical and safe transportation choices, this investment would decrease the rate of the Carbon Tax required to meet Provincial goals also saving money for those who don't cycle or walk.
More Info6,612 signatures
I call upon the Government of BC to enable everyone in BC to cycle & walk in safety as part of their daily lives by implementing an Active Transportation Strategy that includes:
- Investing $1 billion over the next ten years to:
- Upgrade cycling & walking facilities on provincial roads & bridges
- Complete cycling & walking networks in communities across BC
- Provide safe routes to school for children
- Build trails & routes for cycling & walking tourism
- Ensuring that paths & protected bike lanes can be safely shared by people using wheelchairs, skateboards & in-line skates
- Enhancing cycling education for children & adults
- Promoting cycling & walking
- Encouraging electric bike use by eliminating the PST & providing rebates