Since the death of Ellen Watters, support for what many are calling Ellen’s Law has been strengthening. On Monday, Saint John city council backed the call for a one-metre passing law for vehicles when overtaking cyclists in the province voting unanimously to support the campaign for new legislation. Supporters hope Ellen’s Law will contribute to better-protecting cyclists and prevent future tragedies.
On Sunday Jan. 8, about 400 cyclists on the social training app Zwift rode in memory of Watters and to support Ellen’s Law. Watters was hit by a driver while training near her home in Sussex, N.B. on Dec. 23. The 28-year-old who was set to ride for Colavita-Bianchi in 2017 died in hospital on Dec. 27 from her injuries.
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Other politicians in New Brunswick are pledging their support for Ellen’s law including Saint John major Don Darling who said the mayors of Fredericton and Moncton also support the legislation.
“I am hopeful that with the passing of this and your support council, that it will simply allow me on behalf of council to write a letter to the appropriate ministers to ask this to continue,” Darling said to CBC.
On New Year’s day hundreds turned out for rallies in support for Ellen’s law across the province. MLA and cabinet minister Rick Doucet who is a cyclist himself and has been hit by a car promised to be a champion for the cause that day.
One-metre laws already exist in Ontario where motorists can be fined $110 and two demerit points added to their license, and Nova Scotia where motorists can be fined as much as $800.
New Brunswick Minister of Justice and Public Safety Denis Landry said earlier this month that the “government has been aware of this policy proposal for several months and is giving it serious consideration.” Advocates for a one-metre law first raised a formal call in November 2015.