Safe distance rules now in effect for B.C. motorists

A new set of driving rules aimed at protecting vulnerable users took effect in British Columbia on June 3.

Bill 23, also known as the Motor Vehicle Amendment Act, was initially tabled by Rob Fleming, B.C. Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure in 2023, before being signed into law last April.

The legislation now mandates that drivers must keep a minimum distance of one metre when passing cyclists and other vulnerable road users when the speed limit is below 50 km/h and 1.5 metres when speed limits are above that threshold. Additionally, drivers must keep a minimum one-half-metre distance when passing vulnerable road users who are using cycling lanes or sidewalks.

According to the legislation, a vulnerable road user is defined as any pedestrian or person who uses a bicycle, motorcycle, electric kick scooter, electric wheelchair or mobility scooter, or an animal or animal-driven vehicle, such as on horseback or a horse-drawn carriage.

“These new regulations will keep people safer on our roads and encourage even more use of active transportation,” Fleming said. “It’s another step in modernizing our rules to keep up with new technologies that are changing how people are getting around.”

Drivers who fail to follow the new rules could face penalties ranging from a $109 fine and three driver penalty points to a maximum penalty of $2,000 and six months in prison.