Cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers of automobiles. Knowing your rights as a cyclist can help you build confidence to ride on busier roads and with vehicle traffic.
- Lane positioning: Keep to the right, yet do not hug the curb too closely. You should position yourself approximately one metre from the curb, both to reduce the risk of hitting the curb or debris, and also to place yourself within motorists’ field of vision. Staying one metre from the curb is especially important when passing parked cars to reduce the risk of dooring.
- The Motor Vehicle Act requires that traffic moving at less than normal speed of traffic keep as close to the right as practicable.
- Taking the lane: While cyclists are usually required to ride on the right hand side of the lane, there are certain situations where taking the lane can be safer. If there is no shoulder or bike lane and the curb lane is narrow, cyclists may choose to take the whole lane by riding in the centre of it. This can be safer than riding near the curb, which may encourage motorists to squeeze by when there isn’t sufficient room. You should also consider taking the lane when you are travelling at the same speed as other traffic. Be prepared for the occasional frustrated driver who is not familiar with the safe and legal operation of a bicycle, but your safety is the priority! Your health is more important than a few seconds of someone else’s temporary inconvenience.
- Know the road and plan your route: Newer cyclists, seniors, and families with children might prefer cycling on All Ages and Abilities (AAA) Infrastructure. This includes local street bike lanes, protected bike lanes, and multi use pathways. See the CRD’s cycling map to view local cycling networks.
- Google Maps can also be useful for route planning when the “bicycling” filter is turned on to show cycling infrastructure. For more tips on building confidence, find the Road Laws and Traffic Skills page and review the BC BikeSense section on Traffic Skills here.