LETTER: Cyclists and motorists must learn to share the road

When the subject of cyclists arises, we almost always hear of a cyclist not stopping at a stop sign – this act does not tar all cyclists.

READ MORE: Why are some Victoria cyclists still using the sidewalk?

Some words from a cyclist. Frequently when approaching a stop sign with a vehicle approaching from another direction, even when stopped, the vehicle driver looks directly at me, makes eye contact. The motorist then accelerates to beat me to the stop or jumps the stop sign in order to beat me across. The Motor Vehicle Act (MVA) is clear on stop signs and the right of way rules. Apparently many motorists seem to feel the stop part is an absolute requirement for cyclists but for them stop means “Slow to Occasional Pause” and right of way rules exclude cyclists if one’s vehicle is 10 times the size of the cyclist.

READ MORE: Cyclist without helmet thrown onto windshield in Victoria

Section 183.1 of the MVA specifies cyclists have the same rights and duties as a motorist. Too many motorists think that means a cyclist must ride along a line of parked cars close enough to be doored. A cyclist was killed in North Van earlier this year riding in a cycling lane and struck by a car door.

Cyclists have the right to be anywhere in a lane as a car does. Most, as a courtesy, ride as close to the right as practical but, with few restrictions, are permitted to ride at any speed and have the right to ride where they feel safest.

READ MORE: Victoria bus drivers say shared space with cyclists not efficient use of new lanes

A cyclist has the right to not ride in a cycling lane (especially when strewn with construction debris – cycling lanes are not alternate construction lay down areas) if they feel it is unsafe or inappropriate.

They have the right to ride well out from a parking lane. If they are ahead of the motorist then it is the motorist’s responsibility to wait until a safe opportunity to pass.

There is no prohibition in the MVA in regards to a cyclist obstructing traffic – they are the traffic.

Norm Ryder

Central Saanich

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