CASE LAW - Charton-Miner v Hedgecock

BC Courts Coat of ArmsThis incident involves a collision between a cyclist, Valerie Charlton-Miner and a driver, Reginald Hedgecock at the intersection of Hollywood Road South and Highway 33 in Kelowna. Ms. Charlton-Miner was riding northbound in Hollywood Road cycle lane approaching Highway 33. From left to right at the intersection approach is a left turn lane, a through lane, a right turn lane and the cycle lane.

Ms. Charlton-Miner intended to proceed across the intersection and remained in the cycle lane. Mr. Hedgecock overtook her and attempted to turn right onto Highway 33, accelerating as the signal turned yellow. She collided with the side of his pickup when he turned across her path.

Mr. Hedgecock's position was that Ms. Charlton-Miner should not have attempted to proceed straight through the intersection in the cycle lane. She should have moved over to the through lane and continued in the cycle lane after she had ridden across the intersection.

Mr. Justice Wilson examines the law with regard to the rights and duties or a cyclist, turning at intersections and careless driving. He disagreed with Mr. Hedgecock and found that Ms. Charlton-Miner was entitled to use the cycle lane. The driver was found to be 100% liable for the collision.

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I think this intersection is very dangerous for cyclists.  I think in order to improve safety, the white solid line which denotes the bike lane should change to a dashed line for a couple of car lengths before the intersection.  This would allow right-turning vehicles to move to the curb and ensure that bikes and right-turning vehicles do not drive side-by-side.

We don't let cars to turn right from the left lane, because that would create an immediate conflict with cars going straight in the right lane, but we do with bicycle lanes, which inevitably results in undesired outcomes. Same could be said about center-median LRT - which left turning vehicles commonly collide with because the train is going straight from the left-most lane, while the car is making a turn from what becomes the middle lane.

Again we are getting away from basic driver safety practices. Any time you are turning the steering wheel no matter how little, other than for a curve in the road, you should mirror and shoulder check to make sure it is safe for you to do so. Before you turn the wheel, not as you turn the wheel.