Bill 32 – Ammendments to the Highway Traffic Act – follow up

As part of the democratic process for legislative change, a committee of MLA’s will heard presentations about Bill 32 on Wednesday June 6th. The results of the hearing will be posted in Hansard in due course, and linked as another follow up to this post.

With the second reading and committee stages over, revisions may or may not be made to the Bill. And then it will go to the House for the third and final reading before becoming law.

A revised version of the summary previously posted about this matter is below.

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The hearing date was quite a surprise to all of us, as was the Bill itself. Only one meeting was conducted on this Bill, and that was made on request from Bike to the Future. Otherwise, there was no consultation on the contents of the Bill with the cycling community, or explanation about the need for urgency in pushing this matter through the legislative process.

The link to the Bill is below. In a nutshell, it will do the following:

– remove the wording “as close as pracicable” and replace it with “operate in accordance with the regulations”. What those regulation are, or what is planned for them, has not been disclosed to the cycling community. (the regulation could say “as close as possible” or simply say “it’s up to the municipality to decide”)

– reitirate that single file riding is required, with exceptions for passing and turning; however, added exceptions may be permitted through regulation

– allow traffic authorities (municipal boards) the authority to prohibt or restrict certain types of traffic (including bikes) from travelling along certain routes, or within certain lanes. (basically, cars can’t go in bike lanes, and bikes must stay within the lanes or on the paths on certain designated roads).

– other consequential amendments, like the enforcement of penalties by municipal employees.

What the Bill doesn’t do is the following (in my opinion):

– define “safe passing distance” as 1 metre, as in 20 US jurisdictions and Nova Scotia

– increase the public’s understanding of cycling as a sport, and the need to ride in pelotons for training and safety purposes (cycling athletes cannot be created on bike paths)

– reiterate clear road rules throughout the province so when, inevitably, cyclists are on the roads there is a consistent riding environment (each of the 197 municipalities can make their own road rules for municipal roads and other roads passing through their towns, creating a patchwork quilt of road rules)

– reinforce and support the investigation, analysis, infrastructure and educational changes needed to improve the prevention of critical incidents

Bill 32 – THE HIGHWAY TRAFFIC AMENDMENT ACT (POWERS OF TRAFFIC AUTHORITIES OVER CYCLING TRAFFIC)
http://web2.gov.mb.ca/bills/40-1/b032e.php

 

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