LETTER – Cyclists have same rights and duties as motorists

Dear editor,

Regarding the “Beef” in the CV Record, Nov. 5: “Why do cyclists not follow the rules?”

Why indeed? Let’s start by determining what the rules are. A good place to find out is this website: bikesense.bc.ca

The BC Motor Vehicle Act states that cyclists have the same rights and duties as drivers of vehicles. It is true that some cyclists do not follow the rules of the road and the same is true of some motor vehicle drivers. Rolling through stop signs, ‘beating’ the traffic lights and ignoring speed limits are just a few of the dangerous infractions we see every day. Unfortunately, the consequences of such actions in a motor vehicle are much more devastating especially if the driver of a motor vehicle collides with a vulnerable road user such as a pedestrian or a cyclist.

Bicycles are vehicles under the Motor Vehicle Act and therefore cyclists are fully entitled to take their space on the roadway though most choose to ride on the paved shoulder, if there is one, or preferably in a bike lane if one is available. There are two signs on the 5th Street bridge. One informs motor vehicles and bikes to cross the bridge in a single file on the roadway, neither bikes nor vehicles should pass each other on the bridge. The other directs cyclists who choose to use the sidewalk to dismount and walk their bikes.

Farther up 5th street are the recently built separated bike lanes beyond Fitzgerald Ave. A short time spent observing traffic there reveals that when safe infrastructure exists virtually all cyclists use it.

It is not acceptable for any cyclist or motorist to be unaware of, or choose not to follow, the rules of the road but neither is it acceptable to anonymously offer disinformation in our local newspaper.

Steve Allen

Courtenay