Education needed: Motorists need to understand rules re: passing cyclists

I’ll start by saying that I’ve found the vast majority of motorists to be very considerate of road cyclists.
When passing me by, they usually give me a lot more room than the required 1 metre. Still, we’ve all had occasions when a motorist passes too close on the road.

This last week I was riding south on Hessenstrasse when a car passed me with less than a foot of clearance. The driver stopped and parked just before the stop sign at the Kressler Rd intersection and began to unpack a lunch to eat there. When I approached the car I stopped next to the car and motioned for the driver to lower their window. The woman complied with a look of surprise on her face.

I told her in a firm and serious (but not menacing) voice:

“When you passed me you left very little room. By law you are required to give me at least one metre of space when passing. That was very dangerous. Please remember that going forward.”

The woman, surprised and taken aback, simply nodded. I then rode away and carried on with my ride.

The 1-metre rule is basic good practice, and it is now the law in Ontario; but I really believe that there are many motorists out there who truly don’t understand this expectation.

I don’t think there was any malice on the driver’s part - only carelessness and a lack of knowledge. Even though the one-metre rule is now law, I think the province is not doing enough to educate drivers regarding this expectation. It seems they pass new laws, but there is no mechanism for drivers to learn about changing expectations. I for one would like to see an on-line “course” (20 minutes long?) that summarizes laws that have been introduced in the last 10 years. Drivers would not be able to renew their licenses until they have successfully completed that course.

Just my 2 cents.

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It’s rare that you actually get a chance to speak with someone and educate them. Good for you Mel, for taking the opportunity.

One thing I’ve been seeing a fair bit lately, is people cycling the wrong direction in the bike lane. I usually see it near UW. I’ve seen it often enough that it makes me wonder if I’m the one who doesn’t know the laws. I believe I’ve seen that it is legal in some countries, but it seems really wrong when I see it here. Can anyone confirm?


There’s a video somewhere where bus drivers in Mexico as part of getting their license need to pedal on a stationary bike on the shoulder of the road while a bus buzzes them at high speed. That should be mandatory everywhere for all drivers.


The University Ave bike lanes are supposed to be one way and I’ve found myself getting really annoyed at people going the wrong way in them. I have some sympathy given the difficulty in crossing the street in that area and that the region also has two way bike lanes (Erb St).