When riding, a cyclist is expected to obey the same laws as other road users. In the event that there is a designated bike lane, cyclists are obligated to use this dedicated space.
“Using a Bike Lane Properly”
Cyclists must confine themselves to dedicated bike lanes when available, and vehicles must yield to cyclists when they need to traverse a bike lane in order to make a turn, unless there are signs designating cyclists to do otherwise. Some will make the argument that cyclists should accommodate vehicles that need to traverse bike lanes in order to make turns, however the legal standing on this is that motor vehicles must always yield to cyclists in designated bike lanes.
BC Supreme Court Decision in Charlton-Miner v. Hedgecock (2020 BSC 86)
A recent concrete example of the legal rights and duties of cyclists using bike lanes can be seen in the ruling on Charlton-Miner v. Hedgecock from earlier this year.
In this case, ICBC tried to argue that the plaintiff–a woman who was struck by a car while cycling in a bike lane–should have acted differently because the defendant needed to enter the bike lane with her car in order to make a right turn. ICBC argues that, since the defendant needed to cross the bike lane in order to turn, the plaintiff should have accommodated this by entering into the lane intended for vehicles passing straight through the intersection.
However, the defendant was found to be 100% at fault because motor vehicle drivers must yield to cyclists using bike lanes, even if the driver will need to cross the bike lane in order to make a turn. Even though the plaintiff was going straight through the intersection and the defendant was turning right, the plaintiff was correct in remaining in the bike lane since there were no signs indicating that she should yield to motor vehicles or move out of the bike lane. The judge in this case stated that, had the plaintiff left the bike lane and joined traffic as ICBC argued she should have, this would have been a “potentially hazardous” manoeuvre.
Speak to a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you have been in an accident while cycling in a designated lane, speak to a personal injury lawyer about your case. The lawyers at Hoogbruin & Company have extensive experience dealing with ICBC and bicycle road accident cases, so you can trust us to handle your case with the utmost expertise.