University of Windsor Law Professor Christopher Waters recently published an article in the Canadian Bar Review, "The Rebirth of Bicycling Law?" Professor Waters, after tracing the legal history of cycling in Canada dating back to confederation in 1867, makes an argument for reviving the "law of cycling." The bicycle played an important role in Canada's early development from the contribution to the good roads movement, "to new manufacturing methods, to increased mobility for women".
The early nineteenth century also saw the birth of "bicycling law". For example, an 1870 case in London, Ontario established the bicycle as a vehicle that belongs on the road. However, with the rise of the automobile, legal interest has trailed off. Today, despite the recent urban renaissance of cycling, legal reform to improve cycling safety now lags behind in Canada.
A comprehensive analysis of cycling’s legal needs across a range of issues – from legislation to enforcement and infrastructure – is in order and this article suggests an agenda for undertaking this analysis.
Waters argues that the next decade should see a rise in progressive changes in law to acknowledge the needs and status of cyclists. He documents many achievable legislative changes that are possible including: