Bicycles on our roads must have rules
In our recent past various levels of government have heard cries from bicycle groups about riding on and sharing our roadways. Many municipalities have adopted this concept and spent thousands to paint our roads for cyclists.
I have observed this now here in Duncan and North Cowichan and as an operator of a licensed and insured automobile have had a few encounters with these cyclists.
There seems to be a system where the cycle lanes end prior to corners and roundabouts. There are no rules or insurance or licensing requirements for these cyclists, yet they share the roads with licensed drivers, whose vehicles must be insured and pay an annual licence fee to use these roads and they must obey the Highway Traffic Act.
What is supposed to happen when a cyclist reaches the end of the marked bike lane? Is there any set rule for this, or does the cyclist do as he pleases?
In the cases I have observed the cyclists continue on, head down, peddling for all they’re worth and attempt to turn the corner or enter the roundabout on the travelled part of the road. This means any driver attempting to make that turn or already in the roundabout is put into harm’s way. He could hit or run over any one of these cyclists and kill them. I for one would not like to be traumatised by such an incident. Bicycle lanes cross in the middle of turn lanes for cars and cause vehicles to cross bike lanes and the same situation exists at entrances to parking lots of malls and strip malls.
There seems to be something missing in this formula of allowing cyclists on our roads. While cyclists, like licensed drivers, are by the most part responsible operators there are those who pit the bikes against the vehicles on the road saying “no rules for us so I do whatever I want”.
This is still an uneven playing field. Why are there no written rules for what happens within these bike lanes and at the end of them prior to corners and roundabouts? Why do they not fall under the same rules as other users of our roads and highways? Why are they not responsible to the law? Why no signs or indication at the end of these lanes telling cyclists to dismount and walk to the next lane around the corner? It would protect them also and hold them responsible to the law.
If the powers in government make these concessions for these groups wanting to expand their abilities to do their chosen sport, then they should hold them responsible to the Highway Traffic Act and mark their lanes clearly like they do for the rest of the population using our roads and highways. There should be a set of rules for them the same as anyone else using our roads.
Pitting one group against another I do not believe was the intention here but it sure works out that way. If you get in an accident with cyclists, the driver, wrong or not, is the only one with insurance and the cyclist has none, which opens another can of worms.
For the safety of all involved it is my belief every vehicle, whether a car, truck, motorcycle, scooter or bicycle that travels on our roads must all have the same similar rules to account to. Paint the fence with the same brush!