Do you know what the One Meter Passing Law is?

Do you know what the One Meter Passing Law is?

Police educate community to keep cyclists safer on Guelph streets

The “One Meter Law” was passed in January 2017 in order to address the conflicts between motorists and cyclists. The Guelph Police Service, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health, the City of Guelph, and the University of Guelph Campus Community Police have partnered to implement this public education initiative with the aim to reduce injuries.

“Conflicts between pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists result in the most injuries,” stated Acting Sergeant Dan Mosey during a demonstration by the Guelph Police Service and the University of Guelph Campus Community Police.

Although the law passed in January, the Guelph Police have not had access to a device capable of measuring the distance between a cyclist and motorist.

To address this issue and educate the community about the law, they borrowed a sonar device called Codaxus C3FT from Safer Roads Ottawa.

C3FT can measure the one meter distance from the end of a bicycle’s handlebars to a motor vehicle. 

The device will be attached to a bicycle ridden by one police officer who will then notify a second police officer farther down the road of an infraction via radio. The second police officer will then pull the motorist over. Fines can be up to $110 and three demerit points.

Mariah Bridgeman | The Ontarion

According to the Guelph Police Service, the initiative is being rolled out in three stages. 

  1. Educate the public of the rules.
  2. Give motorists warnings.
  3. Take punitive measures.

“We prefer not to take people’s money, we prefer to make a safer community,” said Mosey.

While the device is currently being shared, the Guelph Police may get the opportunity to purchase one in the near future.

One question remained, if trained police officers need a device to indicate that a cyclist and motorist are one meter apart, how can the rest of us tell if we’re leaving enough space?

“Hug the yellow line,” said Sergeant Doug Pflug. This is especially important on roads that do not have a dedicated bike lane.   

The law

According to a statement from the Guelph Police Service, the legislation — found in section 148(6.1) of the Highway Traffic Act — explains that the “operator of a motor vehicle who is overtaking a person on a bicycle shall as nearly as may be practicable leave a distance of not less than one meter between the bicycle and the motor vehicle and shall maintain that distance until safely past the bicycle.”

Photo courtesy of Mariah Bridgeman/The Ontarion.