Q&A - Bicycle Lane Speed Limits

Q&A ImageI understand that when driving in a bike lane the speed limit is 30km/hr. However the signage for these can be confusing at times I find. Here in North Vancouver for example there are narrow residential roads with images of a bike and two arrows painted directly on the road. This isn't a bike ONLY lane as it's more in the middle of the road with the traffic and is not bound by white lines. I believe this marks this whole road as a bike lane and means speed limit on this road is 30 km/hr however I have had some difficulty confirming this, and there are no marked speed limits on this section of the road, just the bikes painted on the road. Am I correct that the speed here is 30?

Here is what the Motor Vehicle Act says about cyclists obeying the law:

Rights and duties of operator of cycle

183  (1) In addition to the duties imposed by this section, a person operating a cycle on a highway has the same rights and duties as a driver of a vehicle.

So, cyclists must obey the speed limits the same way that drivers do. This would mean either following posted signs or limits set by bylaws.

Municipal powers

124 (2) Despite subsection (1), if a municipality adopts a bylaw under that subsection that contains a provision directing the rate of speed at which a person may drive or operate a motor vehicle on a highway in the municipality, a person who contravenes that provision does not commit an offence against the bylaw.

This says that if there is a bylaw for speed set by the municipality, it must be enforced via the Motor Vehicle Act, not through the use of a municipal ticket.

I've looked through the Street and Traffic Bylaw, 1991, No. 6234 set by the city of North Vancouver. It does not appear to set any speed limits unique to cycles.

The bottom line: cyclists follow the set speed limits the same way that motorists do unless there is a regulatory speed sign posted that requires something special for cycles.

Speed limits

146 (7) If, under a bylaw adopted by a municipality or a law enacted by a treaty first nation, signs have been erected or placed on a highway limiting the rate of speed of motor vehicles driven or operated on a designated portion of the highway, a person must not, when the sign is in place on the highway, drive or operate a motor vehicle on that portion of the highway at a greater rate of speed than that indicated on the sign.

Just a note, the image of the cycle and the arrows painted on the pavement are known as sharrows. They do not indicate a bicycle lane, but remind motorists and cyclists that they are sharing the same lane.