FREDERICTON (GNB) – The Department of Justice and Public Safety reminds cyclists and motorists that the one-metre rule, an amendment to the Motor Vehicle Act recognized as “An Act Respecting Ellen’s Law,” takes effect Thursday, June 1.

“Your government is committed to the safety of cyclists, drivers and their families,” said Justice and Public Safety Minister Denis Landry. “The one-metre rule is another way we are demonstrating this commitment. We are pleased that ‘Ellen’s Law’ and our new campaign, We’re All Traffic, have already triggered important conversations about the importance of sharing the road and to look out for the safety of one another.”

The amendment is named in memory of prominent New Brunswick cyclist Ellen Watters, who died in December as a result of injuries from a collision with a motor vehicle while she was on a training ride near Sussex.

Under the Motor Vehicle Act, a driver of a motor vehicle shall not pass a bicycle travelling in the same direction unless there is sufficient space to do so safely and the driver leaves at least one metre of open space between the vehicle and the bicycle. Motorists may cross the centre line while passing bicycles when it is safe to do so.

As of June 1, failure to provide the one-metre space will be an offence, resulting in a fine of $172.50 and the loss of three demerit points. This penalty is consistent with similar offences under the act with respect to safely passing another vehicle, including motorcycles.

“With summer approaching, we will see more cyclists on our streets and roads. I remind motorists to watch for cyclists, slow down when necessary, and to look first before opening their car doors to avoid colliding with a cyclist,” said Landry. “Cyclists are reminded to obey the rules of the road, ride on the right side of the road or a designated trail, use hand signals and always wear a helmet.”

More information about driver and cyclist safety is available online.