CASE LAW - Ilett v Buckley

BC Courts Coat of ArmsThis case examines a collision between a cyclist, Kyle Ilett, and a driver, Leah Buckley, at the intersection of Admirals Road and Seenupin Road in Esquimalt, B.C. Mr. Ilett was riding northbound on the shoulder of Admirals Road nearing Seenupin Road. The shoulder was marked by a single solid white line on both sides of the road. Ms. Buckley was driving her car southbound and turned left onto Seenupin Road when an oncoming driver in slow traffic stopped to allow her to make the turn. Mr. Ilett proceeded through the intersection and collided with the passenger side of Ms. Buckley's car.

Madam Justice Gray held that the shoulder was not marked as a bicycle lane and could not be considered to be a lane for the purposes of section 158 of the Motor Vehicle Act. This made passing on the right by Mr. Ilett illegal. However, she also found that Ms. Buckley drove into her left turn without hesitation when she did not have a clear view of the northbound shoulder, and when she knew that cyclists frequently rode on the shoulder.

Ms. Buckley did not take reasonable care for the safety of Mr. Ilett. Section 166(c) required her not to turn unless she had ascertained that her left turn could be made safely, having regard for the nature, condition and use of the road and the cyclists that might reasonably be expected to be on the northbound shoulder. She was found to be at fault for the collision.

On July 12, 2017 the B.C. Court of Appeal found:

Appeal from a judgment awarding damages where the driver of a vehicle that collided with a cyclist at an intersection was determined to be solely at fault for the accident giving rise to a question of whether the judge erred in law in exonerating the cyclist. Held: appeal allowed. The cyclist bore a duty to ride with due care and attention. Given the circumstances, the judge’s conclusion was in effect a determination that, having done nothing to avoid the collision, the cyclist bore no duty of care which was an error of law. Liability was to be equally apportioned.


Half a million bucks to the cyclist for hitting a left turning vehicle that somebody waived through?

Can there be some actual truth to ICBC citing increasing costs of claims due to injury claims when increasing premiums?

This is beyond incredible. I hope Ms. Buckley had more than the minimal $200,000 3rd party liability coverage.

If a collision with a cyclist can cause $500,000 worth of damages one way, is it too hard to imagine that a cyclist can cause that much damage going the other way? Why are they allowed on the streets with no 3rd party liability insurance?

I highly doubt that a typical cyclist will have the float to pay 1/2 million dollars judgement on demand.

I saw what appears to be an MAC-pretender on a public street this weekend. It was a scooter-like conveyance, with a silent (electric) engine. It was riding with no plates in the left lane of a two lane road, topping out at 55km/h under-power - no crank pedals attached. Seeing how they accelerated beyond 32km/h and having no crank - they are definitely a motor vehicle (not a motor-assisted cycle) and therefore should be carrying road vehicle insurance.

What would be the ultimate outcome of such a road user (or any other non-insured driver) being ruled at-fault in an injury causing collision? Will they have to foot the potential 1/2 million dollar bill - and how would the victim collect it from them?

Bike Sense, which is based on the BC MVA with additional safety information, tells cyclists;

a) It is legal to pass on the right:

    - when you are in a bike lane, OR

    - when the vehicle is turning left or indicating a left turn

b) It is legal to ride on the shoulder

 Note the "OR". I do believe that the Madam Justice was wrong to say the cyclist was illegal, as both the location and the movement was legal. A more careful cyclist might have slowed down enough that they could take avoiding action or stop in the event that a vehicle coming in the opposite direction turned left into their path, and knowing that this would be more likely to happen where a stopped vehicle could act a visual obstruction, making it harder for the oncoming driver to notice the cyclist.

On a more general note, even when a cyclist or motorcyclist is perfectly visible, experience tells us that a sudden left turn by an oncoming vehicle into the path of the two-wheeled vehicle is not uncommon, and a collision is not always avoidable.  The statement  "I never saw you" is usually a misinterpretation of what happened. The images of two-wheeled vehicle or the pedestrian were on the motorist retina, i.e. they were seen by the eyes, but the motorists brain did not perceive them, i.e. image not processed.


In this case the cyclist was passing a vehicle on the right that intended to travel straight though the intersection. The left turn vehicle was oncoming. As there was no lane of travel or bicycle lane available, the Justice merely reiterated the MVA requirment that the cyclist may not pass on the right in these circumstances.

Thank you for the clarification.

Why was the driver who stopped to let the oncoming vehicle turn left not considered partly to blame for the collision? That driver set a trap by stopping to allow an oncoming driver to turn across while a cyclist was following on the shoulder. Even though the oncoming driver and the cyclist should not have fallen into the trap, there surely must be some obligation not to set one in the first place. 

When driving a motor vehicle and making a right turn, I have been taught that before turning I should make sure that a cyclist isn't on the right side of the vehicle. If there's a collision it will be classed as avoidable and I may be penalised, regardless of whether the cyclist was a) legally there already, or b) was trying to pass illegally. When it comes to claims, for a) I would likely be held fully at fault, and for b) I would be considered partly at fault even though the cyclist put himself into danger through an illegal action. The reasoning here suggests that someone who could easily have avoided creating a trap for others but still created one bears at least part of the responsibility for the resulting accident.




The result of yesterday's appeal of this decision has been added to the original article above.