When cyclists, motorists obey rules, everything goes just fine

As a driver I’ve seen cyclists behaving illegally, as a cyclist I’ve seen drivers passing illegally

When cyclists, motorists obey rules, everything goes just fine

Thanks for posting the letter from Larry Woodruff in Friday’s Citizen.

He raises some great points that need to be addressed and explained. I’ve been driving in B.C. for over half a century (and cycling for about 10 years longer!) I recall some of the answers from my 1960s driver’s course and I DID check with DriveSafe BC and the current manual to confirm that they’re still valid.

As a driver I’ve seen cyclists behaving illegally and as a cyclist I’ve seen drivers passing illegally and dangerously. Some of the stories are illustrative of our collective ignorance on sharing of the road.

First, to be clear, a bicycle (even with motor up to 500 watts) does not need a licence or insurance. Reason is that the damage a 10kg bike with a 100kg rider might inflict to another vehicle is relatively trivial so third party liability coverage for a cycling error isn’t really needed. Cyclist pays. The reverse is definitely not trivial and can run into the millions in personal injury claims.

Second, bicycles belong ON the road but are advised by the manual to keep as far to the right as is safe (explicitly excluding unpaved or unsafe shoulders) and ride straight/try not to swerve, obey road signs, signal (either arm) if turning or merging, stop for pedestrians, and do NOT ride on sidewalks.

Larry’s good question about a set rule when bike lanes end, approaching a round-a-bout is easily answered.

As cars, by law, are slowing to at least 30 and preparing to stop for the roundabout, [cyclists must] check, signal and make as safe merge and ‘single up’.

As a reminder of this rule, some of the traffic circles in Duncan, for example, have a yellow “Single-file” signage for cars and bikes as well as the slow to 30 signs. (How about it, MNC?)

Signaling and yielding to the left in a traffic circle is, of course the rule under the Highway Traffic Act for everyone, cyclists included.

Another piece from my 60s driving course which is still in the safe driving manual is the need to give a minimum of 1 metre (1 yard in the 60s) space between your car and the cyclist when passing. This is the LAW in countries such as Australia and many U.S. states but, unless you cause an accident, only a recommendation in B.C. (for now).

As I drive my 25,000 and ride my 2,500 km each year I find that when both motorized and non motorized vehicles follow the rules things go just fine.

Thanks to Larry and the Citizen for getting this issue out there.

Let’s “Share the Road”, and let’s respect each other’s safety and follow the rules.

We’re all there with the same intention; to get there safely and healthy.

Happy New Year

Peter Lake

North Cowichan

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