Q&A - Deliberate Collision By Cyclist

CyclistWhat are you suppose to do when you've stopped at a red light when making a right hand turn and a homeless person on a bike purposely crashes your car because you're temporarily blocking the bike lane? He does damage to your expensive car, but he rides away. He looked like you wouldn't want to argue with him for fear of your life.

This incident happened to our adult son while he was turning off from Hollywood Road onto Highway 33 on his way back to work. He was at a loss of what to do at the time, but he made the decision to stay in the car. When he asked us what we would have done, we didn't know.

He was going north and making a right hand turn as well.

Not that it excuses the behaviour of the cyclist... There's a solid white line marking the cycle lane, rather than a broken line, at that intersection. Why was your son blocking the cycle lane?

I had a good look at this one and thought about the story. Your son's hit and run coverage with ICBC is no good as the culprit has to be another vehicle, not a cycle. Responsibility rests with the cyclist and that is going to make it difficult as he will have to be identified and dealt with by the police or sued by you to cover the damages. Neither avenue is going to be an easy one.

If you go with the police, the circumstances that you describe would mean a criminal charge for mischief. Unless you have witnesses, I doubt very much that a complaint would go anywhere. All that would be needed to throw enough doubt into the equation would be the cyclist saying that your son got in the way and he was unable to avoid the collision. It sounds from your description that your son had his vehicle positioned where it was not allowed to be, in the cycle lane, so this would lend some credibility to the cyclist. Even if the charge resulted in a conviction, the courts are not diligent in following up on orders for restitution.

If you chose to take a small claims court action against the cyclist you would have to know who he is in order to have documents served on him. While the requirements are not as stringent for a finding as they are in criminal court, again, it might be simple for the cyclist to convince the justice that the fault was your son's and not his due to the encroachment on the cycle lane.

For the sake of illustration, let's look at the driver turning right here.

Turning at intersections

165 (1) If the driver of a vehicle intends to turn it to the right at an intersection, the driver must cause it to approach the intersection and then make the turn as close as practicable to the right hand curb or edge of the roadway.

Driving on laned roadway

151 A driver who is driving a vehicle on a laned roadway

(b) must not drive it from one lane to another if that action necessitates crossing a solid line,

So, as the driver approaches this intersection, there is a requirement to be as far to the right as practical, but they are prevented from moving into the cycle lane by the solid line. This would be different if the cycle lane was marked with a broken line at the approach to the intersection. In that case the driver could move over closer to the curb if it were safe to do so.

This makes for a dangerous situation, as the cyclist is allowed to proceed in the lane and may pass the vehicular traffic on the cyclist's left. Other than self preservation, there is nothing that requires the cyclist to yield to a driver turning right. In fact the onus is on the driver turning right to insure that they do not interfere with the cyclist. This may be quite difficult depending on the traffic behind the driver that could easily obstruct a view to the rear.

None of this excuses a cyclist from deliberately damaging a vehicle that gets in the way by failing to follow the rules.