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We Teach Driving Like Your Life Depends On It

Cyclists, drivers have to learn to coexist

October 13, 2016

By Steve Wallace
Times Colonist, October 7 2016

A reader asked me to be very emphatic when writing about bike riders.

She wanted me to remind them to sound a bell, horn or at least call out when approaching pedestrians from behind on trails shared by both groups of users.

In the past few weeks, I have received more complaints about bike riders than in the past few years of correspondence.

Many of them come from pedestrians, but there are some very noteworthy comments from drivers, as well.

Mavis wanted to know the right-of-way rule for turning right at an intersection where there is a right-side bike lane.

Here’s the simple answer: The bike riders are permitted to go straight or turn right when a car driver wishes to make a right turn at an intersection.

They have the right of-way. The car driver must do a shoulder check prior to the right turn in order to see if it is safe to do so.

Bike riders are very vulnerable to a crash in this situation, particularly when they are going at a high rate of speed.

The best advice for drivers in this situation is to be very close to the curb, in effect setting up a blocking action.

This forces the cyclist to wait for the motor vehicle to make the turn safely without conflict.

When there are roads without curbs, drivers have to be even more attentive when turning right, because bike riders will often use the shoulder of the road to pass on the right.

There were several complaint emails about bikes on sidewalks.

Vehicle drivers must yield to pedestrians when making a right turn.

Most drivers will be looking for a slow-moving pedestrian or perhaps a jogger, but a fast-moving bike rider on the sidewalk is not something a driver expects to see.

Riding a bike on a sidewalk is not legal.

Bike lanes will often be painted green, but not always. Drivers are not permitted to travel in these bike lanes bound by solid white lines.

Drivers can cross marked bike lanes to park, or enter and leave residential or commercial driveway parking areas.

They must wait for the white solid line to become a dashed line before moving over to make a turn at an intersection or change lanes.

Dedicated bike lanes are a good thing. Motor vehicle drivers are able to identify the shared responsibility of both riders and drivers.

There is growing resentment among many motor-vehicle drivers when it comes to enforcement of traffic laws.

When is the last time you saw a cyclist ticketed? Drivers believe there is little or no enforcement of helmet legislation.

Cyclists riding the wrong way on a one-way street, or on a sidewalk, are routinely not stopped for such an infraction.

Cyclists often fail to come to a complete stop at a stop sign. They frequently go through red lights at intersections, if the way is clear.
This relatively small minority of renegade two-wheel traffic terrorists discredit the well-intentioned, law-abiding majority of cyclists.
It is time for more enforcement of proper bike-riding behaviour, particularly in densely populated municipalities.

They impound cars. Why not bikes?

It is time for more police bike patrols.

When a cyclist is involved in even a minor crash, there can be dire consequences.

Motor vehicles are equipped with all sorts of safety features.

Bike riders must depend on their skill for survival.

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