Fines coming for Regina drivers acting unsafely around cyclists

·3 min read
The city is going to use $30,000 from the automated speed enforcement account for an educational campaign to make people aware of the changes.  (Matthew Stockman/Getty Images - image credit)
The city is going to use $30,000 from the automated speed enforcement account for an educational campaign to make people aware of the changes. (Matthew Stockman/Getty Images - image credit)

Regina drivers will now face fines if driving unsafely around cyclists this summer. A number of new fines were approved in a six to five vote on Wednesday.

The cycling safety and passing proposal was passed with Councillors Jason Mancinelli, Terina Shaw, John Findura, Lori Bresciani and Mayor Sandra Masters against.

The changes are:

  • Vehicle drivers need to drive in a reasonable and prudent way when approaching special hazards to cyclists — such as not splashing them with puddles — or they could be fined $180.

  • Drivers will be prohibited from following a cyclist more closely than is reasonable, or they could be fined $100.

  • Drivers cannot pass a cyclist in the same lane that the cyclist is using, or they could be fined $85.

  • Drivers cannot pass a cyclist faster than 50 km/hour, or for streets with speeds that are 80 km/hour, the drivers cannot pass a cyclist faster than 70 km/hour unless there is a bike lane, or they can be fined $180.

  • Drivers cannot open their doors unless it's safe in relation to cyclists and doesn't interfere with the movement of traffic, or they can be fined $180.

  • Cyclists will be allowed to go in the opposite direction down a one-way street if there is a bicycle-only lane.

The city will use $30,000 from the automated speed enforcement account for a cycling educational campaign to make people aware of the new changes.

"The behaviour of motorists make cyclists feel unsafe on the streets. For some this is no more than an annoyance for others it keeps them off the streets and as a result, off their bikes," said David Bernakevitch, a board member of Bike Regina during council's discussion.

A group of children drove over the protected bike lanes along Park Street in Regina on the day they opened on October 6, 2020. When cyclists do not have a designated lane and need to be on the street, drivers will not longer be able to pass them in the same lane.
A group of children drove over the protected bike lanes along Park Street in Regina on the day they opened on October 6, 2020. When cyclists do not have a designated lane and need to be on the street, drivers will not longer be able to pass them in the same lane. (Heidi Atter/CBC)

"When vehicles pass cyclists, the further away they are, the better and if they slow down, even better," he said. "We believe this bylaw increases the safety of cyclists an incalculable amount."

Originally cyclists would be fined $85 if they were cycling on Ring Road from Pasqua Street N to Victoria Avenue. Coun. Dan LeBlanc, however, proposed that be not included and it was passed six to five.

Coun. John Findura requested one new rule to be taken out. Findura argued that the fine for passing a cyclist in the same lane they are using is removed.

Some councillors were concerned it would slow traffic as drivers will need to wait until there are two lanes to pass a cyclist, or the cyclist leaves the road. The idea was defeated in a six to five vote.

The Regina Police Service said it will enforce this on a case-by-case basis. A representative told the council they would begin with warnings and talking to drivers before starting up fining people.