Cyclists Passing on the Right
Something must have struck a nerve lately as I have received a number of requests to deal with cyclists passing other traffic on the right hand side. One near miss on a right turn even had the cyclist shaking their fist and cursing the driver. No doubt cyclists have their issues with the behaviour of motor vehicle drivers but passing on the right is something cyclists do when in most cases they should not.
In British Columbia, cyclists have the same rights and duties as the driver of a motor vehicle. That means they must obey the same traffic rules and must be treated as if they were another car or truck on the highway. It also means that cyclists may receive a traffic ticket for traffic rule violations as well.
Our traffic rules generally forbid passing on the right. It may only be done if there is an available lane on the right, when a one way street is of sufficient width or when overtaking a vehicle signaling a left turn. However, one must do so safely and must not travel off the roadway. Roadway means the portion of the highway that is improved, designed or ordinarily used for vehicular traffic, but does not include the shoulder.
On highways that have a paved shoulder separated from the roadway by a solid white line, the cyclist must ride on it if it is practicable to do so. The courts have confirmed that cyclists may not legally pass by motor vehicle traffic on the right when riding here.
That said, make sure that you know the difference between the shoulder of the road and a cycle lane. If the cyclist is using a cycle lane to the driver's right, they are allowed to pass on the right.