Ellen’s Law Officially Passed in New Brunswick
On May 5, royal assent was given to “Ellen’s Law” in the New Brunswick legislature, requiring motorists to give cyclists at least a one-metre (39 inches) safe clearance when passing.
Cycling advocates gathered at the legislature to celebrate the unanimous passing of the law and commemorating the tragic death of Professional cyclist Ellen Watters in late December 2016. Watters was struck from behind by a vehicle during a training ride near Sussex, N.B. The new law is officially recognized as “An Act Respecting Ellen’s Law.”
Ironically, a few days later, New Brunswick police announced that no criminal charges will be brought forward following Watters’ death, citing insufficient evidence.
Watters rode for Ottawa, Ont.-based The Cyclery-Opus Team for several years, and had signed with U.S.-based Colavita/Bianchi for 2017. Her tragic death unleashed an outpouring of sympathy for the popular rider and a renewed push for stronger laws to protect cyclists.
Watters distinguished herself in 2016, winning the Tour of the Battenkill and Tour of Somerville, as well as claiming bronze in the Criterium at the Canadian Road Championships. She also helped her teammates, one being Tara Whitten, who won the overall at the 2016 Cascade Cycling Classic.
Apart from her riding prowess, Watters was well liked and known for her antics.
The tragic loss of Ellen Watters brought the entire cycling community across Canada together and galvanized support for #Ellenslaw.