NDP cyclist buffer zone metre

Mixed reaction to NDP idea to create buffer for cyclists

A key piece of the provincial NDP's platform revealed yesterday is a pledge to alter the Highway Traffic Act such that drivers would be fined for not staying at least a metre away from cyclists. Predictably, reaction to the proposal has been mixed. Some have characterized it as an attempt to curry favour with downtown Toronto voters, others think it's a step in the right direction, while still others have called it an example of the NDP being looney.

Like the idea or not, it's really not "out-there" at all. Nor can it be accurately dismissed as the product of left-wing ideology. 20 American states already feature a similar law, and as one of the tweets below (via @UnionSt) points out, some rather prominent Republican politicians have supported three-foot passing bills in their respective states.

It seems that the most common criticism is that the enforcement of such a rule would be impossible. In a literal sense this might be true, but that doesn't tend to convince many people that we should do away with laws against speeding or wearing seat belts, both of which can only be enforced in a first-hand capacity. I suspect that the idea here, as is the case with many traffic laws, is to deter motorists from crowding cyclists for fear of getting a ticket.

It remains to be seen, of course, whether this will prove a savvy or silly political move, but it's important to be careful about what we characterize as crazy. Additional feedback is welcome in the comments section.

Some Twitter feedback

Photo by Half My Dad's Age in the blogTO Flickr pool


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