Cycling PEI pushing daytime running lights for cyclists

By Drake Lowthers

Oct. 9, 2015

Mike Connolly thinks day-time running lights should be mandatory for cyclists on P.E.I. All he needs to do is to think back to Aug. 1.

An accident that day left a man paralyzed from the waist down after a collision in the bike lane with a vehicle. The driver wasn’t able to see him, Connolly said.

“The No.1 priority for cyclists is to be visible.”

Connolly is the executive director for Cycling PEI. The recommendation comes after three major injuries within two months, he said.

“We strongly recommend for the cyclists’ own safety to adopt the white light.”

Cycling PEI made the recommendation in a recent meeting with officials of the transportation department.

Doug MacEwen is the safety co-ordinator for the department. It all falls back on to see and be seen, he said.

“Day-time running lights are an excellent idea. Anytime you can improve safety is a step in the right direction.”

P.E.I.’s Highway Traffic Act requires all cyclists have a white light and a red flashing light for night-time driving, but it doesn’t require anything for day-time, MacEwen said.

“As a motorist, having any additional attention grabbers couldn’t hurt.”

The transportation department hasn’t committed to the recommendation, but it’s under review, he said.

“We have to do research.”

Connolly said, “We need to make sure that it makes sense here in Charlottetown.”

Ontario passed legislation Sept. 1 requiring cyclists have day-time running lights. Cyclists face fines up to $500.

Doug Cota is the executive director of Cycle Ontario. Something as simple as a light to improve visibility is a worthwhile investment, he said.

“For something that costs so little, it could have such a huge impact on your life. It could be the determining factor between life and death.”

Cycling PEI is also requesting a change to the ‘share the road’ legislation, ordering motor vehicles to leave one metre of space when possible while passing a cyclist, and making motorists responsible for their vehicle doors.