Q&A - Cyclist Failed to Yield

Yield to Bicycles SignQuestion: I was driving at the intersection of 2nd Avenue and the Cambie Street on ramp in Vancouver. I turned right on a green light to head onto Cambie Street. I did not have to yield to any pedestrians as they were being held by the pedestrian signal. I moved about 20 feet into turn and my car was struck on the passenger side by a bicyle rider doing full speed.

The impact caused about $2,300 damage to my car. I feel that the cyclist is at fault as they did not yield. I had the right of way to turn.

Of course we would of yield to the biker if they were in the bike crossing, BUT we were half way through it when the collision occurred. The cyclist was wearing earphones, a face mask and was not wearing a helmet!

We were moving slowly up the viaduct as we had a vehicle ahead of us.

Answer: Well, it's not really a case of "we got here first." Think of it like an intersection of two roads with you coming up to the intersection facing a yield sign. Another car is coming from your right and if you enter the intersection, that car will hit you before you get across. You would yield, allow the car to go, then you would go.

The same situation applies here and the requirement to yield imposed on you by the sign does not change because of helmets, masks, earphones or because it was a cyclist instead of another motor vehicle.

What those things might change is how the courts, or ICBC guided by the case law decided by those courts, will apportion blame for the collision. I do hope that you have reported the collision to ICBC. If you have not, I strongly suggest that you do as they can deny any claim if you fail to report within a certain time period. Judging by the damages you relate, I would suspect that the cyclist sustained injury as well as damage to their bike.

If you are preparing to contest an ICBC fault decision, think of this as exploring your options first, then seek the advice of a lawyer. They are the experts here and my civil law experience has been gained by watching from the sidelines.

Comments

Two serious mistakes, here.

On the one hand, that regulatory sign that requires drivers who are turning right to 'Yield to Bicycles' could not be clearer (and yet, the car driver makes the ludicrous claim that 'I had the right of way'!)

On the other hand, the cyclist is a damn fool for rocketing along so quickly that he was unable to stop. Zero defensive driving skills, as we see so often with cyclists. And while the wearing of a mask or earphones is probably irrelevant, in the case of him incurring a head injury, it's my belief that the apportioning of blame/damages would have to take into account that he wasn't wearing a helmet.

Bicycle safety helmets

184 (1) A person commits an offence if that person operates or rides as a passenger on a cycle on a highway and is not properly wearing a bicycle safety helmet that

(a) is designated as an approved bicycle safety helmet under subsection (4) (a), or

(b) meets the standards and specifications prescribed under subsection (4) (b).

(2) A parent or guardian of a person under the age of 16 years commits an offence if the parent or guardian authorizes or knowingly permits the person to operate or ride as a passenger on a cycle on a highway if that person is not properly wearing a bicycle safety helmet that

(a) is designated as an approved bicycle safety helmet under subsection (4) (a), or

(b) meets the standards and specifications prescribed under subsection (4) (b).

(3) A person who is convicted of an offence under subsection (1) or (2) is liable to a fine of not more than $100.

(4) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations as follows:

(a) designating a helmet as an approved bicycle safety helmet for the purposes of this section;

(b) prescribing standards and specifications for bicycle safety helmets.

(5) Regulations made under subsection (4) (b) may adopt by reference, in whole or in part, standards or specifications published by a national or international standards association, as amended from time to time.

(6) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations as follows:

(a) providing for and requiring the identification and marking of bicycle safety helmets;

(b) exempting any person or class of persons from the requirements of this section and prescribing conditions for those exemptions.

Earphones

I was under the impression that a driver was not permitted to wear two earphones, and that a cyclist was considered a driver in the eyes of the law.

Headphones / Earbuds

You can wear one, but not two.

Take the question with a grain of salt too, I often find that the circumstances related in them can change when carefully questioned.

Problems with Cyclists

Okay, a motorist in a "tank" machine would inflict severe damage to an inattentive cyclist that does not exercise caution or follow the rules of the road.

Cyclists have no idea of their speed, passing cars on the inside lane as the motorist follows the speed limit.

Even with rear view mirrors, sensing computer devices, it is difficult to track the speeding bicycle idiot that believes they have a right of way or are invincible.

Years ago in my youth, we had bicycle license tags and a guide book for rules of the road. What qualifies a bike as a pedal powered transportation vehicle not having any qualify license or education: maybe such a system may make motorist safer in situation where the cyclist believes they have the superior right of way. Probably reduce cyclist injuries.

OBSERVATION: Also notice the lack of helmets throughout the city.; is that not an applicable provincial helmet law. Perhaps no bicycle license and no helmet should make the cyclist pay for damages just as no insurance  place a greater consequences for the drivers.

Where is accountability for cyclists?

Not my fault?

Another case of a driver not having situational awareness of what is going on around him before he moves his vehicle from a stop. A cyclist coming up on you is one of the first, and last things you should look for before any right turn, or left, actually, never turn the wheel without being aware of potential consequences. Not driving defensively and assuming right of way are two very serious mistakes this driver made. We all know that there are lots of cyclists that don't ride defensively,  that doesn't give us the right as car drivers to drive as if they don't exist.

Not familar with the

Not familiar with the intersection but I do notice that one lane is clearly marked with a right turn arrow and the sign says the only exception is buses and bicycles.

My question is if you are in the right lane where the arrow indicates you must turn right would it not be against the law for the bicycle to pass on the right?

Traffic Control Devices

The cyclist has to follow traffic control devices in the same manner as the driver of a motor vehicle unless specified otherwise.

In this case the cycle lane is separate from the highway the driver was using.

Are we asking too much of drivers?

This incident makes me wonder, are we asking too much of drivers?  I can imagine this intersection, with, say, 5 pedestrians waiting to cross.  The right turn might be tricky, and would the driver be able to see approaching cyclists in advance?  If there isn't a corresponding sign for cyclists telling them to reduce their speed to something like 10km/h or so, then I don't know if this intersection could ever be safe.

I mean, I guess you can put up 100 signs and tell a driver he has to check 50 things and yield to everything always, but in reality, that's not really within the capability of the average driver so we have some responsibility to engineer intersections which are safe and do not overwhelm users.

Maybe

As always, there are more issues than one at work here.

Maybe the driver is trying to do too much in too little time to adequately scan, process and react. (speed)

Maybe the engineering is poor and that a different configuration would lead to more safety.

Maybe (obviously in this case) the driver does not know what is required of them and so does not do it.

Maybe the driver has not noticed the cycle lane parallel to the vehicle lanes and has not anticipated having to share the road. (Lack of attention to the environment)

Maybe the signs are not large enough or there is too much information in the one place to process, although there is an advisory sign of the cycle lane crossing in advance of the intersection.

Maybe, even though the cyclist has the right of way, they should have been prepared for this possibility.

What sometimes amazes me is that so much of this takes place continually and collisions occur relatively rarely in comparison.

Visual assault

Signage at this intersection is at minimum "in abundance" and is expected to be read and understood from a moving vehicle along with lane markings, traffic controls and now colored pavement. I agree that engineering and standards must improve. It seems to be human nature to pile on more and more warnings and instructions to the point where it can't possibly be fully absorbed. Take a look at storefronts in these Covid times. You need to stand and read for five minutes just to figure out if it's ok to enter.

Furthermore road users would benefit from greater education to help them navigate these new realities. In this image the bikeway crossing is delineated with green paint and elephants' feet. How many drivers, or cyclists for that matter, know what these markings indicate?

Lastly a defensive riding practitioner, or at least the ones I teach, knows that this intersection presents with the probability of a "right hook" as occurred here and will shoulder check, reduce speed, and prepare for an evasive maneuver before proceeding. Fault is a non issue if you're dead.

You can see the world on your bicycle and when you're on it the world sees you.

Offensive Posting by CompetentDrivingBC

I read the posting by CompetentDrivingBC:

On the one hand, that regulatory sign that requires drivers who are turning right to 'Yield to Bicycles' could not be clearer (and yet, the car driver makes the ludicrous claim that 'I had the right of way'!)

First off, if one is already in an intersection, turning legally, and then another vehicle enters that intersection, how is the first vehicle responsible for that?

Secondly, to state "and yet, the car driver makes the ludicrous claim that 'I had the right of way'!)" is both offensive and inflammatory.

CompetentDrivingBC is Correct

There are two intersections at play here, the one the driver is turning out of and one where the driver is crossing the cycle lane.

"intersection" means the area embraced within the prolongation or connection of the lateral curb lines, or if none, then the lateral boundary lines of the roadways of the 2 highways that join one another at or approximately at right angles, or the area within which vehicles travelling on different highways joining at any other angle may come in conflict;

There is a sign posted advising the driver of the cycle lane and the fact that the driver is required to yield to cylists.

Given that the collision occurred when the driver was half way through, there was bicycle traffic present that required him to yield. He did not have the right of way, the cyclist did.

One definition of ludicrous is "unreasonable." It's not the word I would have chosen to use, but it is appropriate.

Self serving reply

In other words any vehicle entering an intersection  is at risk because a cyclist "may" enter that intersection.

How would a person, as described in this instance, turning right legally at an intersection be able to see a cyclist coming from, for example, a block behind?
Bear in mind, in this case, the cyclist had to be travelling at a fairly high speed to inflict $2300 of damge to the side of the car.

The real problem here is that the way the lanes and laws are designed, a vehicle attempting to turn righ HAS to do so by crossing the cycle lane.

And as to your use of the word "ludicrous" I stand by my comment. It is offensive and inappropriate for you to belittle people in this forum.

Who moderates this forum?

Careful...

Go to the original post and use the view to have a look at the area.

The cycle lane is separate from the the area where the driver turned right. It occurs after that intersection in a new one all on it's own.

The real problem here is that the way the lanes and laws are designed...

Interesting, you appear to agree with CompetentDrivingBC on this point.

I'm sorry that you don't like the word ludicrous, but you may wish to be careful as I might not moderate the forum in the way you are hoping for....

Accurate reply, actually!

First off, if one is already in an intersection, turning legally, and then another vehicle enters that intersection, how is the first vehicle responsible for that?

Well after holding a BC Driving Instructor license for more than 33 years, I generally find that referring to the BC Motor Vehicle Act & Regulations provides better answers than mere supposition.

I don't think drivers are ever given the right of way, (only pedestrians, in certain instances), but they sure as heck are expected to yield it in numerous situations, whether going straight or turning.

In the situation depicted, there are numerous signs and road markings (including the bright green cycle path) indicating the necessity for drivers to yield to cyclists. You would have to be blind not to see them; and therefore it's incumbent on the driver to check both left and right for conflicting cyclists on their legal cycle route, before driving into a collision with them. This might entail turning your head to check for these conflicts, obviously.

That doesn't mean the cyclist was behaving intelligently either - as I mentioned, he rode right into that accident, showing no defensive skills despite his vulnerability. I expect it hurt, which might help in the future. In the meanwhile, it seems that he has a legitimate claim with ICBC so it could be interesting to see where that goes; probably it will show up on Case Law here in a few years!

A question for our site host: it's not clear in your picture at the top, but are there any separate bicycle control signals at that intersection?

I just took another look on Google Maps

And will answer my own question, there. There's a pedestrian walk/don't walk type signal in the immediate crosswalk.

But the bicycle lane (as our site host mentions) is a separate, uncontrolled intersection.

Which, if you think about it, would deny the motorist right-of-way under Section 173, interestingly. Here you go:

Yield signs

173 (1) Except as provided in section 175, if 2 vehicles approach or enter an intersection from different highways at approximately the same time and there are no yield signs, the driver of a vehicle must yield the right of way to the vehicle that is on the right of the vehicle that he or she is driving.

(2) Except as provided in section 175, if 2 vehicles approach or enter an intersection from different highways at approximately the same time and there is a yield sign, the driver of a vehicle facing the sign must yield the right of way to all other traffic.

Seriously?

I'm going to throw my hat in the ring with this one, and I'd imagine I get some hateful responses to it.

whatever.

How the hell does an unlicensed, uninsured, bike, possibly driven by an unqualified driver (no requirement to understand traffic rules and regulations, no requirement to test skills or knowledge, no medical....no NOTHING) take precedence over a motor vehicle, and most ludicrous of all, get to SUE for damages that they likely caused? That's like expecting to collect the jackpot when you haven't bought a ticket.

so This driver had already made the right and is proceeding down the street and has to stop if he sees a bike coming down the path? Who does the bike think he is? A train? So you are saying a car that is travelling own the street without turning, proceeds on a green but has to yield to any bike coming down the path?

the bike has the shortest stopping distance, the most to lose, and probably more time on his hands as he is biking to where he is going.

it makes no sense for the elephant to bow to the mouse.

everybody pretty well knows where I stand. No unlicensed vehicles or drivers on roadways. As a professional driver, the highway is my workplace, and it's tough enough out here without these assholes driving however they want. (Because there is zero enforcement)

James

IFIXCATS Mobile Heavy Equipment Repair.

I agree that it puts a burden on car drivers

I agree with you that it puts a lot of the burden of safety on the car drivers but I think you need to think about it from another perspective.  For exactly the reasons you indicate (no requirement to understand traffic rules and regulations, no requirement to test skills or knowledge, no medical....no NOTHING, and possibly a child) the responsibility has to become that of the car driver.  If instead we were to ask the cyclist to be educated and rational like a licensed car driver should be, then not many kids could ride bikes around their neighbourhoods.  I think that would be worse than asking car drivers to be responsible.

What I DO also think though, is that we can't overburden the driver with poorly conceived intersections which inevitably result in collisions.

J

What is a bike rider?

I'm of the age that if you saw an adult riding a bicycle the first thought that came to mind is the rider lost their licence probably due to impaired driving. Now which would you put your money on as having more common sense? A drunk adult or a young kid? I believe most of you will go with me on the young kid. Kids have been taught to look both ways before you cross the road and that holds true whether they are walking or riding. Drunks on the other hand only think of themselves.

Came up to a four way stop this week and both of us were free to go. On the cross street we could see the Town Drunk pedalling towards us. We both must have had the same thought as we sat there while he blew through a four way stop without slowing. Once he past we both proceeded. Like I said who has more sense a kid or a drunk? I think this story answers the question.

Just consider all bike riders as inconsiderate drunks and you are not far from the truth.

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