Bicycle Lanes

Bicycle LaneOur community recently put bike lanes in and within the first week there was a cyclist injured. Can you address how to handle bike lanes as a motorist? Is the bike lane treated as just another lane of traffic? When you are turning into a driveway or onto a road to the right and you have to cross a bike lane and there is a cyclist there, does the cyclist have the right away?

A bicycle lane is a designated use lane of the highway intended for use by cyclists only. It is separated from the usual traffic lanes by a single solid white line and designated by a diamond and bicycle symbol. Motor vehicle drivers cannot drive, stand or park in this lane.

If the designation is not painted or signed it is not a bicycle lane, rather it is part of the shoulder of the highway.

Turns at intersections must be made to the first available lane. The bicycle lane is not available on a right turn unless you are a cyclist, so motorists must travel a little further into the intersection before turning. In fact, the Manual of Standard Traffic Signs and Pavement Markings for British Columbia contains a warning sign for this situation instructing that right turns must be made wider than normally.

Passing on the right is another consideration. Many drivers think nothing of passing a overtaken vehicle turning left but they cannot do this if it means traveling over the solid white line or off of the roadway. The rule is supposed to protect cyclists in the bicycle lane, which is not part of the roadway, but a wise cyclist would never count on proper driving behaviour.

Lastly, we need to examine the case where a motorist needs to turn into or leave a driveway or alley. You are permitted to cross over a designated lane in order to park or leave the highway. Just signal, shoulder check and enter if it is safe to do so, yielding to cyclists in the bicycle lane. If you are leaving the driveway or alley, you must yield the right of way to cyclists approaching closely enough to be a hazard.



This is a very old thread, but ...

... seemed like as good a place as any to get information on something I noticed recently, on 3 Road in Richmond near Lansdowne Centre.

This is in relation to those signs and road markings that I think of as 'HOV Lane'. And the familiar symbol is that white vertical diamond shape on the sign or road surface. So, take a look here. Clearly, there's a well marked bicycle lane adjacent to the two lanes for vehicles, and the sidewalk. But if you scroll back and forth on that street view, you'll see both road markings and signage that uses the HOV symbol.

Is it possible that the white diamond has various interpretations, beyond the normal HOV Lane Rules?

Or does Richmond need to hire a new Traffic Engineer? Because I'm just not seeing any buses sharing that there lane with any cyclists ... 

Diamond Symbols

The diamond indicates a restricted lane. The sign that goes with it, in this case showing a bicycle, indicates that it is a reserved lane for bicycle use.

OK, thought that might be the issue

But where is the law on this, both in terms of easily accessible info (like an ICBC Driving Guide) or the MVA & Regs?

So far as I recall, most bicycle lanes don't use that symbol.



When a driver post a question that ends with "... does the cyclist have the right of way?" that can often be translated into "If I hit a cyclist in this situation, will I be at fault?"

My response to the question "Can you address how to handle bike lanes as a motorist?" would be:

1) Right of way is given, not taken.You always have the option of yielding right of way.

2) Regardless of right-of-way laws, etc., you should do whatever possible to avoid hitting a cyclist with your motor vehicle.

Author of "Letters to a Driving Nation: Exploring the Conflict between Drivers and Cyclists."

'Often be translated' ?

Frankly, I don't think you're entitled to make that judgment.

When it comes to this question, there's generally a tendency to ask 'do I have' or 'who has' the right of way, although it's not the best way to word things. Typically, as you say, it's something to be given rather than taken; and so far as I recall, BC Traffic Law will be worded not in a way that grants right-of-way, but rather who should be giving it.

It's entirely reasonable for any driver - or other road user (and that includes pedestrians and cyclists, you know) - to ask about this, in order to know how they should best proceed. In fact it would be a real good thing if all road users educated themselves as to their responsibilities.

I note that this thread was initiated twelve years ago, in response to new cycle lanes having been painted in a community. And thanks to this website, there's a chance for people to learn what the rules are.

But I don't think anybody is asking if it's alright to hit cyclists - that's in your head.

Another View

Steve Wallace, a well qualified driving instructor has this to say about cycling today.

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