Bill 32 is now Law….well, sort of.

As mentioned in yesterday’s press, many bills were passed by the Legislature and now are law in Manitoba – although when they have “force and effect” still needs to be proclaimed by Cabinet.

Until that proclamation happens, the old provisions in the Highway Traffic Act (HTA) still apply.

You can see the current status of these Bills  (HERE)

Bill 32 created amendments to the (HTA) which have numerous implications for cycling athletes:

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

– reiterate 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 prohibit 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 define “safe passing distance” as 1 metre, which has been done in 20 US jurisdictions and in Nova Scotia.

Representatives from Bike to the Future and the MCA made presentations and submitted documents at the Standing Committee for Social and Economic Development on June 6th

Hansard – pdf:

Charles Feaver’s (BttF) excellent presentation is on page 34. Tom McMahon’s (BttF co-chair) is on page 37. My remarks are on p. 46. All three of us handed out documents to Committee, but they are not reproduced in Hansard. Also of note is the document submission of Dean Kriellaars, PhD. (included in the above pdf).

Pages 49 and 50 contain the clause-by-clause consideration of the Bill by the Standing Committee after all the presentations were made. As you will see, not much happened, and Bill 32 passed Third Reading on June 14th without further changes.

The changes to the HTA created by the Bill must be “proclaimed in force” by the Cabinet. Until that happens, the old provisions of the Highway Traffic Act remain law: “as close as practicable” is still the governing rule until new regulations say differently.

We have no information at this point on the proposed content of the provincial regulations under Bill 32, although it is likely that these regulations will be drafted by department and legal services staff.

Finally, on page 55 of the Hansard document, you will see a letter from Mr. Doug Dobrowolski, President of the Association of Manitoba Municipalities (AMM). Along with the mayors of Manitoba’s cities, AMM will play a key role in influencing the boards of 197 municipalities when they come to creating bylaws and rules that could prohibit cyclists from certain roads or restrict them to certain paths or lanes within each set of municipal boundaries.

It is certainly the MCA’s hope that provincial and municipal leaders will prudently use their authority and resources to support Manitoba’s 130 year old sport of cycling by creating a cooperative and collaborative relationship among cyclists and drivers.