Ellen Watters will always be known as an amazing, vibrant, joyful soul, an athlete, and a cycling star. Ellen went for a training ride in Sussex, NB, on December 23, 2016. She was struck from behind by a car, tragically ending her life. A born-and-raised New Brunswicker, Ellen was part of the Cyclery-Opus team based in Ontario. She was 28 years old and rising higher and higher in the cycling ranks. Ellen was an organ donor, and she and her family will be giving one of the best gifts anyone can receive — another chance. She was generous enough to give this gift to others.
There were no charges in the case of Ellen's death. Her story inspired a movement of New Brunswickers to advocate for stronger legal protections for cyclists. In 2017, Ellen's Law was passed which requires motorists to provide at least one-metre of space when passing a cyclist. A government working group was formed and more changes to the motor vehicle act were promised. The working group was soon disbanded and further changes to the Motor Vehicle Act were abandoned.
Why Modernize the Motor Vehicle Act?
New Brunswick has one of the oldest motor vehicle acts in the country
All Eastern Canadian provinces have recently modernized their MVA with regard to cycling safety, except New Brunswick
Saint John Cycling has done the heavy lifting! We have reviewed these laws in other jurisdictions to create a white paper with recommended amendments. The full white paper is available online here. An executive summary is available here.