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Motorists encouraged to leave one-metre distance when passing a cyclist

Manitoba Public Insurance, in partnership with Bike Winnipeg and the Green Action Centre, is encouraging motorists to leave a safe distance when passing cyclists.

“At this time of year there are more cyclists on our roadways and keeping them safe is everyone’s responsibility, including the motorists they share the road with,” said Ward Keith, vice-president, Business Development & Communications & Chief Administrative Officer, Manitoba Public Insurance. “Leaving one metre of space when passing cyclists is one simple way that motorists can do their part to help keep cyclists safe and give them the space they need to safely navigate around road hazards.”

With road safety at the forefront, Manitoba Public Insurance recently launched a new cycling safety campaign with a reminder to motorists to “Please Leave Space to Breathe”. This campaign supplements other safety tips for motorists when approaching and overtaking cyclists, as well as safety education programs for cyclists supported by the public insurer.

“With an average of 180 bicycle-vehicle collisions on public roads in Manitoba each year, we all need to do our part to stay safe and for motorists, that includes paying specific attention to cyclists as well as motorcyclists and pedestrians,” said Keith.

"We are very happy to see MPI taking this initiative to educate drivers on safe passing distance when sharing the road with people riding their bikes,” said Mark Cohoe, Executive Director, Bike Winnipeg. “Continued education and heightened awareness about the one-metre distance are positive steps in making cycling a safe experience for both cyclists and motorists.”

The one-metre distance will be of particular benefit to young cyclists, allowing them to gain confidence on the roadways.

“Our program works to ensure that children are able to safely bike to school across Manitoba and engage in healthy school travel,” said Jamie Hilland, Program Manager, Active and Safe Routes to School Program, Green Action Centre.

“Manitoba Public Insurance's efforts to promote a safe passing distance will help give children the road space to ride safely, and reduce the risk of potential collisions. Green Action Centre's Active and Safe Routes to School Program is proud to support Manitoba Public Insurance as they launch their ‘Please leave space to breath’ campaign.”

“Green Action Centre looks forward to continue working with Manitoba Public Insurance to help protect our most vulnerable road users, and ensure that children can safely walk and cycle in communities across Manitoba.”

Safety tips for cycling safety

For drivers:

  • When passing a cyclist, leave a distance of at least one metre to ensure a safe ride. Please leave space to breathe, even if this requires you to change lanes to pass safely.
  • Take extra caution at intersections and watch for cyclists when making right or left turns.
  • After parking your vehicle, look for cyclists before opening your door. Opening a car door into the path of a cyclist can lead to serious injuries.
  • When entering and exiting roadways and intersections, scan the sidewalks in both directions for cyclists. Remember, smaller bikes are allowed on sidewalks.

For cyclists:

  • Always follow the rules of the road, including stopping at traffic lights and stop signs.
  • Never pass stopped vehicles in the same lane or when stopped at an intersection as the driver may not see you and turn into your path.
  • Always ride on the roadway unless your bicycle is small enough to legally ride on the sidewalk. Many cycling collisions occur when bicycles are coming off sidewalks at intersections or when crossing driveways.
  • Ride defensively, consider wearing reflective clothing, and use hand signals to alert motorists to your intentions.