British Columbia laws could soon become more bike friendly

Dec 14, 2016 | Uncategorized

Committee will make recommendations on updating Motor Vehicle Act
The chair of the Motor Vehicle Act Legislative Committee, David Hay, says that British Columbia could soon make traffic laws in the province friendlier to cyclists, according to CBC News. The committee is expected to make a number of recommendations to the provincial government this fall on how to improve the Motor Vehicle Act. The committee’s recommendations are likely to focus on reducing the risk of bicycle accidents by clarifying the rules of the road for both drivers and cyclists.

Road Safety Act
According to Hay, the province’s current traffic-safety legislation, the Motor Vehicle Act, is inherently favourable to motor vehicles at the expense of cyclists and pedestrians. In order to be more inclusive, he has suggested renaming the law the Road Safety Act.

Hay notes that the current law, which was last updated in 1996, treats bicycles as though they were cars, which can sometimes put cyclists in a dangerous situation. For example, currently in British Columbia, except in limited circumstances, it is illegal for cyclists to pass cars on the right since motor vehicles themselves are required to pass on the left, according to the Vancouver Sun. In many situations where cyclists are riding on the shoulder of the road, however, passing on the right is much safer than trying to pass on the left.

Following other jurisdictions
In addition to making it easier for cyclists to pass on the right, the committee is expected to make a number of other recommendations to improve safety for cyclists. The committee is looking at legislation recently passed in Ontario, for example, that increases the maximum fine for “dooring” a cyclist to $1,000 along with three demerit points. Additionally, the committee is likely to recommend a minimum distance that drivers must maintain between their vehicles and bicycles when trying to pass cyclists. Provincial law currently does not specify a minimum passing distance.

Hay claims that the provincial government is receptive to updating the Motor Vehicle Act and many of the recommendations that will ultimately be included in the committee’s report are likely to help guide governmental action on changing the traffic laws. He also points out that changing the law will be of benefit to drivers since it will make the rules of the road clearer for everyone. The report is expected to be delivered to the government this fall.

Bicycle accident
While updating provincial laws to protect cyclists is certainly laudable, the unfortunate fact is that bicycle accidents will continue to happen, often because of negligent or reckless drivers. Cyclists who have been injured in an accident are often unclear about what their rights are under the law, especially as regards financial compensation. If you have been involved in a bicycle accident, contact the lawyers at Tell Del who will work on your behalf to help you recover.

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