BC Motor Vehicle Act Improvements

HUB Cycling is a member of the Road Safety Law Reform Group, whose membership also includes the BC Cycling Coalition, health researchers, and the Trial Lawyers Association of B.C.

The committee has made several recommendations to the Provincial government on how to make the law friendlier to people cycling and fairer to all.

>> See the full Position Paper here

>> See the One Pager on Safe Passing and Safe Neighbourhood Speeds here

This position paper has been endorsed by all of the following organizations: 

- Trial Lawyers Association of British Columbia
- Health Officers Council of BC
- Fraser Health Authority
- Interior Health Authority
- Vancouver Coastal Health
- BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit
- City of New Westminster
- City of Victoria
- City of Vancouver Active Transportation Policy Council
- Modo the Car Co-op
- Hastings Crossing Business Improvement Association
- Vancouver Bike Share Inc. | MOBI
- BC Cycling Coalition
- HUB Cycling
- Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition
- Modacity Life

You can endorse it too!
ACTION: Use our letter writing tool to send a message to your MLA telling them you want a BC Road Safety Act now.

The Superintendent of Motor Vehicles, and the Ministries of Justice and Transportation & Infrastructure are reviewing and researching the recommendations, and reaching out to other stakeholders.

"The name itself is biased," said David Hay, Bike Lawyer and Group Chair. "It's inherently favourable to people who aren't vulnerable road users." The committee recommends renaming it the "Road Safety Act" to be more inclusive and show the rules are about promoting safety for everyone.

The last update to the Act was in 1996 and the last major revision in 1957, but much has changed since then, including cycling growing significantly and becoming a much more viable mode of transportation, along with its benefits of affordability, health, space efficiency, and better air quality.

Any changes are up to the provincial government. A snapshot of a few of our requested reforms:

1. Safe passing distances

In progressive cycling jurisdictions, such as the U.S. and throughout Europe, you must give cyclists a 1 - 1.5 metres of space. B.C.'s law, however, is silent on minimum passing distances. 23 states in the U.S. have already established similar minimum distances for vehicles when passing cyclists. Ontario passed this law in June 2015 and enforces it with distance devices.

2. Safe speed limits - 30km/h limit on neighbourhood streets

Currently, municipalities must sign each block of specialized speed limits, which is costly. Granting the power to municipalities to enforce blanket speed limits and create a default 30km/h speed limit zones (on local streets with no centre lines, for example) will increase safety for everyone using neighbourhood streets. 

3. Increased fines for dangerous behaviour

We have seen some success here as a result of our advocacy: As of Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, BC increased fines for drivers opening doors onto cyclists to between $368 (up from $81). Dooring is a common safety issue for cyclists in all communities throughout the province, is the most common collision type in the city of Vancouver, and consequences can be serious injury or death.

Fines should also be increased for harassment of people on bicycle, for theft or tampering with bicycles, aggressive driving, and motorist negligence causing injury or death of vulnerable road user.

4. Update the name of the Act to Road Safety Act.

The current name (Motor Vehicle Act) is exclusive and confusing, because people cycling are also under its jurisdiction. The improved Act would clearly promote safety and rules clarity for everyone.

5. Clarification on e-bikes and electric-assist bikes

Currently, there is confusion about what types of e-bikes and scooters are allowed to use cycling infrastructure. Clarity to restrict speeds, weights and motor size of e-bikes will keep road users safer.



What can you do to support? Let your MLA know that the Motor Vehicle Act needs to be modernized to improve road safety for vulnerable road users like people cycling.

ACTION: Send an email to your MLA asking for reforms to the Motor Vehicle Act, including a safe passing law.