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B.C. implementing speed-limiters on trucks, minimum safe-passing distances around pedestrians in road safety overhaul

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April 6, 2023
By OHS Canada

Health & Safety british columbia Road Safety Speed Limiters Trucking

Photo:: Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, British Columbia

British Columbia is proposing a number of changes to its Motor Vehicle Act in an effort to improve safety, including minimum safe-passing distances around pedestrians and cyclists and the use of speed limiters on heavy-duty commercial vehicles.

Rob Fleming, B.C. Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, said new and emerging technology is changing the way people and goods move around cities and towns.

“This legislation requires drivers to use appropriate care around pedestrians and cyclists, supports enforcement of regulations, and sets a strong foundation for testing and evaluating new technology and policies as we shift to a net-zero future in B.C.,” said Fleming.

These changes are part of the province’s Clean Transportation Action Plan to be released later this year, which will put forward a plan to enable more modes of transportation to shift people out of cars and reduce vehicle kilometres travelled, it said.

The amendments represent additional steps government is taking to meet CleanBC: Roadmap to 2030 emissions reduction targets, including increasing the share of trips made by active transportation, such as walking and cycling, to 30%, and decreasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in transportation by 27% to 32%.


“HUB Cycling is pleased to see the introduction of a minimum safe-passing distance law and other protections for vulnerable road users,” said Erin O’Melinn, executive director, HUB Cycling. “The majority of local residents cycle regularly or want to cycle but are held back by safety concerns. This is an important step to making all road users safer and to providing comfortable options for people to get around using active, healthy, affordable, sustainable modes of transportation.”

Proposed amendments

Bill 23 proposes amendments to create a safer environment for vulnerable road users, such as cyclists and pedestrians, and supports the shift to increased active transportation with changes that include:

  • establishing a new vulnerable road-user framework that requires drivers to take proper precautions when pedestrians and cyclists are using a roadway;
  • implementing a one-metre minimum safe-passing distance and a three-metre minimum following distance that drivers of motor vehicles must observe when sharing roadways with pedestrians, cyclists, e-bikes and other similar devices;
  • requiring the use of speed-limiter equipment to regulate the maximum speed of heavy-duty commercial vehicles, decreasing GHG emissions, reducing speed-related crashes and making it safer for all road users; and
  • expanding the province’s authority to implement more pilot projects, including enabling provincewide pilot projects and broader regulation-making authority to test safe, new and emerging transportation technologies and road safety policies.

Trucking industry applauds speed-limiters

The BC Trucking Association said it was “pleased” to see the changes from the province to tackle safety.

“We’ve advocated for speed limiters on heavy-duty commercial vehicles because the data shows they dramatically reduce the number of at fault speed-related accidents,” said Dave Earle, president and CEO of the BC Trucking Association. “Additionally, speed limiters help green our sector by curbing fuel consumption and emissions generated by trucks travelling at high speeds. These amendments will benefit the trucking industry and British Columbians as a whole.”

Rules on self-driving cars

The proposed legislation will also enable B.C. to regulate automated vehicles, including licensing, insurance, prohibition and permitting, to support research, testing and use of these vehicles on roadways.

While highly and fully automated vehicles are not currently authorized for manufacture or sale under federal law, this amendment to the regulatory structure for automated vehicles would align B.C. with Ontario, Quebec and other jurisdictions preparing for the future safe deployment of all classes of automated vehicles if they become authorized by the federal government, it said.

Amendments are also proposed to enable the safe use of a broader range of emerging technologies, such as micro-utility delivery robots and personal mobility devices, to help transform the province’s transportation network to include more clean and affordable options for people and goods movement on B.C.’s roads.


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