Cyclists are NOT Second Class Road Users

CyclistI read a story in the Victoria Times Colonist this morning regarding crashes involving motor vehicles and cyclists using the Galloping Goose trail. The article was prompted by a cyclist who had ridden across Kelvin Road and was struck by a driver who had stopped for the stop sign and then failed to yield to the cyclist. There is a crosswalk painted across the Kelvin where the trail crosses.

The Motor Vehicle Act (MVA) says it all in one statement: "...a person operating a cycle on a highway has the same rights and duties as a driver of a vehicle." Strictly speaking, both Kelvin Road and the Galloping Goose Trail are highways within the meaning of the MVA. This effectively means that the cyclist on the Trail had every reason to expect the driver to remain stopped as they crossed with caution, in the same way that they would at the intersection of two "regular" streets having a two way stop.

The conversation posted by readers at the end of the article is illustrative of the confusion many people have with the basic rules of the road. Chief among them at the time I read it was that the cyclist should have dismounted and walked across the crosswalk. This is only the case where a bylaw does not permit a cyclist to ride in a crosswalk and the City of Victoria has done this in the Streets and Traffic Bylaw.

To give the driver the benefit of a doubt, this may simply have been a mistake of either not seeing the cyclist and making the connection that the driver had to wait until the cyclist had crossed safely in front of them, just like a two vehicle collision in a "regular" two way stop intersection. However, it is possible that the driver felt entitled because they considered that the cyclist was a second class road user and had to yield to motor vehicles. If that is the case, the driver needs to re-evaluate their perception of sharing the road with cyclists.

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Oddly enough, I'm familiar with that intersection, having stayed at the adjacent Red Lion Inn on a couple of occasions, as the business I was visiting nearby was on Ardersier at Tennyson.

If you go to Google Earth and look at the overhead image where Galloping Goose meets Ardersier, you'll immediately notice that the Trail is made more picturesque by the carefully planted lines of trees ... go to Street View and this is more apparent in a way, and eastbound traffic on Ardersier also has that mature evergreen as an additional vision blockage.

So obviously, with this being a cycle (as well as pedestrian) route, the Traffic Engineer will have posted warnings to this effect, right?  Um, no.  Pedestrian X's painted on the roadway?  Check. Advance warning of the pending Stop Sign?  Check.  Clearly marked Crosswalk the width of the Trail? Check. Pedestrian Crosswalk signage?  Check. Advisement of pending cyclists, potentially traveling quickly and suddenly on a crash course?  Uh ... NO!

Would sure like to see a reconstruction of that collision, but I doubt if the driver even saw the cyclist coming - and maybe vice versa - until way too late.


As a former Victoria resident who has driven through these crossings of the Goose numerous times, I would agree that the sightlines are not good for drivers. One has to inch forward until their vehicle is almost in the painted crossing to really see cyclists. Cyclists who don't slow down at these crossings don't do themselves any good either.

To give the engineers the benefit of the doubt, it's possible that the vegetation was added after the crossing was designed and built, so they may not have had any input in to that.

It wouldn't hurt to put signs warning drivers that they are expected to yield to cyclists here (perhaps the designers felt drivers would deduce this from the presence of the stop signs). This would particularly help newcomers and out-of-towners who don't realize that the Goose is a popular cycling trail.

I have to correct you here. The collision actually happened at Kelvin Road, the TC is simply using an old photo. With the angle at which the train intersects the road (even worse one block down at Dupplin Road) and all the bushes around the trail, it can be difficult for a driver to see down the trail. Even after looking left, right and left again, cyclists often travel the Goose at speeds of 40kph or more and can come up on drivers very quickly.

OK, yes wrong location, but it doesn't change anything.

You quote the City of Victoria Bylaw, both the locations are in Saanich, not Victoria, but Saanich has a regulation that specifically states a bike rider can ride across streets in crosswalks along the Galloping Goose Trail.

The Galloping Goose Trail is a "Highway" ?  NO, gotta call you on that one.

MVA definition says a highway used by "vehicles", MVA definition of a "vehicle" says not human powered.

This boils down to vehicle drivers not expecting crossing "traffic" (peds and bikes) to be shooting through at high speed.  Example is railway crossings, you don't see railway crossings with only stop signs and trains going through at speed.

In taking steps to make this trail "fun" for bike riders these municipalities by removing the need to dismount to cross streets are putting the riders at risk.

Yes, by placing the stop signs the bike riders have the "right" to roar through, car vs bike, you know who's going to loose.

From the Motor Vehicle Act:

"highway" includes

(a) every highway within the meaning of the Transportation Act,

(b) every road, street, lane or right of way designed or intended for or used by the general public for the passage of vehicles, and

(c) every private place or passageway to which the public, for the purpose of the parking or servicing of vehicles, has access or is invited,

but does not include an industrial road;

From the Transportation Act:

"highway" means a public street, road, trail, lane, bridge, trestle, tunnel, ferry landing, ferry approach, any other public way or any other land or improvement that becomes or has become a highway by any of the following:

(a) deposit of a subdivision, reference or explanatory plan in a land title office under section 107 of the Land Title Act;

(b) a public expenditure to which section 42 applies;

(c) a common law dedication made by the government or any other person;

(d) declaration, by notice in the Gazette, made before December 24, 1987;

(e) in the case of a road, colouring, outlining or designating the road on a record in such a way that section 13 or 57 of the Land Act applies to that road;

(f) an order under section 56 (2) of this Act;

(g) any other prescribed means;

The trail certainly falls within the meaning of "public way" and the Transportation Act does not restrict public way for the use of motor vehicles only.

It is apparent from the comments that the prevailing majority has an expectation that the cyclists will dismount and walk their bicycles across the cross-walk. And why wouldn't it be? "Everyone knows" that cyclists are supposed to dismount and walk their cycles across pedestrian cross-walks - then again, "everyone knows" that bicyclists usually don't do that, so this really means that bicyclists are actually expected by the majority of drivers to approach the intersection with caution and take extra care when proceeding across the zebra. That's the prevalent expectation - self-evident, simple and justified.

A by-law that goes against the prevalent expectation is only enabling the Darwin law.

Bicyclists a second class road user? Oh contrare - they are the primadonnas of the roads - changing from vehicle to pedestrian "modes" on a whim, skirting the helmet/stopsign/redlight/yield/sidewalk/etc laws 10 times per minute, carrying no insurance and having no formal training. Cars are the true third class citizens - what with all the requirements to even be allowed on the roads - they stand to be the most controlled, oppressed, extorted users of the public roads.

Its time the "safety steam-roller" caught up to all the users of public roads - not just the most financially capable ones.

Perhaps we'll have to agree to disagree.  The first part of the definition of "highway" under the Transportation Act, gives us many types of areas, public street, road, trail, lane, ......etc BUT it then goes on to say "that becomes or has become a highway by any of the following:"

It then goes on to talk about various ways of designating one of these areas as a highway

a) reference or explanatory plan in a land title office...

b) a public expenditure to which Sec 42 applies (travelled road becoming a highway)

c) - g) etc 

This walking / bike trail would have had to be designated a highway by some official means.   The way I read the Transportation Act it doesn't say that every "public way" is a highway (for example) it says "any other public way...that has become a highway by any of the following: (then goes on to give 7 official way it could be designated a highway.

In my opinion.

Otherwise, as an example you could operate your car/truck on any trail in a provicial park as it would be a "highway"

In reply to by my5cents

Unfortunately, the law is often difficult to understand the way it is written. It would be nice if it were "plain language."

The divider in what you are considering is the word "or." The following are outright considered to be highways: public street, road, trail, lane, bridge, trestle, tunnel, ferry landing, ferry approach, any other public way. The "or" kicks in at this point for what follows, it's a highway if it meets one of (a) through (g).

The Galloping Goose Trail is a highway within the meaning of the Transportation Act and because of this is also a highway within the meaning of the Motor Vehicle Act.

In reply to by DriveSmartBC

Yes, the law is often difficult to understand... the portion of the definition of "highway" under the Transportation Act, states:

.....means (OK for starters, the law DOES NOT say "includes" is says "means" so everything contained is strickly the definition)..a public street <coma> road <coma> ........ferry approach<coma> any other public way or any other land or improvement that becomes or has become a highway by any of the following: (NOTE, NO COMAS between "any other public way or...."), if this was intended to mean:

-ferry approach

-any other public way

-or any other land or improvement that abecomes or has become a highway......

There would be a coma after "any other public way, and there is not. 

Yes the law IS often difficult to understand.

Grab your flack jacket and helmet. I think you may be in for a dumping when you use the word "entitlement" with car drivers.

As a "group" I have never seen anything that approaches that attitude of MOST cyclists. Most don't even slow down for stop signs or red lights if they think the way is clear.

A couple of weeks ago, I was driving a constable to pick up his car at a shop, and as I was turning right off the Island Highway, a cyclist was travelling the same direction on the paved path. I said to the Cst. "How much would you bet that the cyclist doesn't stop for the sign?"

Cyclist blew straight  through, and I had to stop for him, despite having the clear ROW. Earphones in his ears, not even looking for crossing  traffic. And at his approach speed, : no intention of stopping for the sign.

That's "entitlement"

As a side note, I can't understand people who abdicate their responsibility for their own safety, and put it in the hands of unknown drivers, then complain when they get hit !

Just reviewing this thread, and it occurs to me that they probably hadn't invented Elephant's Feet crosswalks at that time .... there's a very short thread about that here, that should surely have received more responses by now.

I would sure like to know how these crosswalks for both pedestrians and cyclists are working out, now that they're increasingly in common use. Hope somebody throws an opinion in, on that thread. Or a statistic, even!

Incidentally, I don't think that Goose Trail is any sort of roadway, highway or not.