Calgary drivers must give cyclists at least 1 metre clearance starting next month

Aug 27 2019, 9:53 am

There are new motor vehicle safety rules within the City of Calgary starting on Sunday, September 1, and it involves how drivers interact with cyclists on the road.

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The municipal government is reminding the public that its new safe passing bylaw requires drivers to provide a minimum of one metre of buffer space when passing a cyclist. This is roughly the same distance as a fully-opened car door.

However, the required clearance is increased to 1.5 metres if the speed limit is over 60 km/h.

Drivers intending to pass a cyclist can now legally cross a solid yellow line, when safe to do so. This is aligned with the motor vehicle safety rules in other Canadian and American jurisdictions.

On their part, cyclists are also required to ride as close to the curbside of the road as possible.

“These changes are a combination of extensive public engagement, research, industry best practices, and align with current user behaviour,” said Andrew Sedor, business development coordinator of the City of Calgary, in a statement.

“The good news is most people are already safely accessing the city’s transportation network and whether you’re on two wheels or four, these updates ensure roads, sidewalks, pathways, and cycle tracks are accessible and inclusive for all.”

Drivers violating the safe passing distance bylaw are subject to a $203 fine.

Other changes that are already in effect include allowing skateboards, scooters, and inline skates on cycle tracks and in public spaces in the city centre, including Olympic Plaza and along Stephen Avenue.

As well, Calgary Transit permits electric pedal assist bicycles on its transit vehicles during non-peak hours, just like other bicycles. All bikes weighing less than 55 lbs are now permitted on the bike racks in front of transit buses.

Furthermore, cyclists can now use either arm to indicate a right turn and can yield instead of coming to a full stop when entering or exiting a roadway or sidewalk from/to a pathway.