A Safe Cycling Statement

2022-10-22
 
Velo NB would like to express their condolences to the families and friends of the two cyclists killed by motorists in the past two weeks, one in Moncton and the other in Saint John. These are not isolated incidents, accidents and fatalities involving cyclists have been all to frequent on our New Brunswick roads. This does not even take into account the near misses that cyclists are subject to while trying to enjoy our roadways they are entitled to use. Whether its print or social media the lack of understanding of laws governing our roads by the general public is sadly lacking. Improvements are needed both in driver education programs for new drivers and ongoing public education.
 
A growing interest in Active Transportation which turned into a surge during the COVID pandemic has not been matched by all communities in New Brunswick with investments in AT infrastructure. Six years after the death of Ellen Watters which resulted in Ellens Law little has been accomplished by the provincial government in the way of educating the public on the rights of cyclists to use roadways, providing a strong regulatory framework under the Motor Vehicle Act to support safe cycling, or investments in improving Active Transportation.
 
Velo NB have repeatedly stated that New Brunswicker’s who are out cycling are improving their physical and mental health and providing benefits to the environment by reducing greenhouse gases by taking cars off the road. This increase in cycling has been aided by the accelerating growth and usage of E-Bikes. The provincial government and local governments need to acknowledge this growth with increased investments in AT infrastructure and strong regulations to improve safety for cyclists and other vulnerable road users.
 
What needs to be done;
1/ Establish a print and social media campaign to be run each year to educate drivers on their responsibilities regarding road safety with respect to cyclists and vulnerable road users. A campaign which ran after the tragic death of Ellen Watters was sadly discontinued two years after she passed away. The province should instruct Driver Training Programs to include a section on driver responsibilities and safety concerns around cyclists and vulnerable road users. Driver exams should include sections on cyclist safety.
 
2/ Velo NB needs to be listened to in our discussions with the Department of Public Safety. The recommendations we have made in our meetings with the provincial government over the past six years which would provide a higher standard of safety on our roads are often dismissed out of hand by civil servants. We never need to hear again from a Minister of Public Safety that “cycling safety is a low priority”.
 
3/ New Brunswick does very little to educate drivers that we have Ellens Law in effect in this province. The education program for both New Brunswicker’s and tourists entering this province should include billboards notifying drivers that 1 metre of space has to be given to cyclists when passing them on roadways. An increase in signage is needed throughout the province reminding drivers that a 1 metre law is in effect and that roads are to be shared.
 
WHAT CAN YOU DO AS AN INDIVIDUAL
Call or email your MLA to ask for action on implementing new regulations under the Motor Vehicle Act and ask for improved investments in Active Transportation, and driver education campaigns.
 

Working Towards Safe Riding in New Brunswick

Velo NB welcomes the Government of New Brunswick’s modernization and adoption of cycling safety regulations for the protection of New Brunswick cyclists and education of all road users. By building on the Velo NB advocacy work started in 2015 and Ellen’s Law (2017) through working group discussions, we are continuing the modernization of our Motor Vehicle Act M-17 for the safety of the more vulnerable road users in New Brunswick. Velo NB continues to support and be part of the advocacy process and will continue to be a voice for New Brunswick cyclists, both sport and recreational, into the future.


Velo NB se réjouit de la modernisation et de l’adoption par le gouvernement du Nouveau-Brunswick d’une réglementation sur la sécurité cycliste pour la protection des cyclistes du Nouveau-Brunswick et l’éducation de tous les usagers de la route. En nous appuyant sur le travail de plaidoyer de Velo NB commencé en 2015 et sur la loi d’Ellen (2017) par le biais de discussions en groupe de travail, nous poursuivons la modernisation de notre Loi sur les véhicules à moteur M-17 pour la sécurité des usagers de la route les plus vulnérables au Nouveau-Brunswick. Velo NB continue de soutenir et de faire partie du processus de défense des intérêts et continuera d’être une voix pour les cyclistes du Nouveau-Brunswick, tant sportifs que récréatifs, dans l’avenir.


For more information on the recent news from the Province of New Brunswick, please follow the link to their press release.

https://www2.gnb.ca/content/gnb/en/news/news_release.2022.05.0235.html?fbclid=IwAR3b7tHqEvouqMkQPExEL7fBURWuZpzBPEd2mUe4uhQN3sohhqEKDsJO8_Y

2021 Advocacy Report

Wayne Arrowsmith and friends riding bicycles.

Wayne Arrowsmith and friends riding bicycles.

Much of our activity during the past year as it has in prior years has been centered around trying to get the province to update the Motor Vehicle Act. During the past year this activity included but was not limited to the following meetings.

  • Meeting on Mar 11, 2021 with Minister of Public Safety and Justice Ted Flemming and Tourism Minister Tammy Scott Wallace as well as senior officials of the Public Safety Dept.
  • Meetings with Trevor Holder and Glen Savoie, Saint John area MLAs during the months of March and April as well as telephone calls with Arlene Dunn MLA for Saint John South.
  • June 15, 2021 with Chris O’Connell and other senior representatives of the Dept. of Public Safety and Justice.

The June 15th meeting with Chris O’Connell was scheduled by the province and included a goal of introducing cycling amendments to the MVA in the fall sitting of the legislature. These amendments were based upon; a jurisdictional survey of NB’s MVA and other eastern provinces legislation, and requests for updates to the MVA from our White Paper.

To quickly summarize the updates to the MVA did not happen this fall and have been delayed until at least this coming spring or possibly Fall of 2022.

Other activities throughout the year included prompting local law enforcement depts. to post cycling safety awareness information on social media.

Wayne Arrowsmith

Advocacy Chair – Velo NB


Une grande partie de notre activité au cours de l’année écoulée, comme au cours des années précédentes, a été centrée sur la tentative de faire en sorte que la province mette à jour la Loi sur les véhicules à moteur. Au cours de l’année écoulée, cette activité a inclus, sans s’y limiter, les réunions suivantes.

  • Réunion le 11 mars 2021 avec le ministre de la Sécurité publique et de la Justice Ted Flemming et la ministre du Tourisme Tammy Scott Wallace ainsi que des hauts fonctionnaires du ministère de la Sécurité publique.
  • Réunions avec Trevor Holder et Glen Savoie, députés provinciaux de la région de Saint John, au cours des mois de mars et avril, ainsi que des appels téléphoniques avec Arlene Dunn, députée provinciale de Saint John Sud.
  • Le 15 juin 2021, avec Chris O’Connell et d’autres hauts représentants du ministère de la Sécurité publique et de la Justice.

La réunion du 15 juin avec Chris O’Connell était prévue par la province et avait pour objectif de présenter des modifications à la LVM en matière de cyclisme lors de la session d’automne de l’assemblée législative. Ces modifications étaient fondées sur une étude juridictionnelle de la législation de l’AVM du Nouveau-Brunswick et des autres provinces de l’Est, ainsi que sur les demandes de mise à jour de l’AVM formulées dans notre livre blanc.

Pour résumer rapidement, les mises à jour de la LVM n’ont pas eu lieu cet automne et ont été reportées au moins jusqu’au printemps prochain ou peut-être jusqu’à l’automne 2022.

Parmi les autres activités menées tout au long de l’année, nous avons incité les services de police locaux à diffuser des informations sur la sécurité à vélo dans les médias sociaux.

Wayne Arrowsmith

Président de la défense des intérêts – Velo NB