Entering Cycle Lane

Q: Often, in single-lane traffic and when a waiting car is turning left, other cars behind will steer to the right, entering into the cycle lane, in order to go around the car without having to wait. Is this a legal maneuver?

Also, I see this happening at single-lane intersections on a regular basis: in particular, the Richter/Sutherland intersection at St. Michael & All Angels' Cathedral. I cringe to see this as it seems only a matter of time before an on-coming left-turning motorist turns at the same time another vehicle has swerved around a stopped vehicle. In a case like this, who would be at fault: the motorist turning left, or the vehicle traveling straight through?

A: To answer your first question, a vehicle passing on the right cannot drive over the bike lane in order to pass another vehicle making a legal left turn.

A vehicle may not pass another vehicle on the right if the passing vehicle crosses over into the bicycle lane or onto the gravel shoulder. The bike lane and the shoulder are not considered part of the laned roadway.

Passing on right
Section 158 (1) of the Motor Vehicle Act indicates that the driver of a vehicle must not cause or permit the vehicle to overtake and pass on the right of another vehicle, except
(a) when the vehicle overtaken is making a left turn or its driver has signaled his or her intention to make a left turn,
(b) when on a laned roadway there is one or more than one unobstructed lane on the side of the roadway on which the driver is permitted to drive, or
(c) on a one way street or a highway on which traffic is restricted to one direction of movement, where the roadway is free from obstructions and is of sufficient width for 2 or more lanes of moving vehicles.
(2) Despite subsection (1), a driver of a vehicle must not cause the vehicle to overtake and pass another vehicle on the right
(a) when the movement cannot be made safely, or
(b) by driving the vehicle off the roadway.

To answer your second question, the onus is on both drivers to ensure the movement of their vehicles can be made safely. Investigating a crash such as the one detailed depends on the circumstances leading up to the crash, including vehicle positions after the crash, vehicle damage and most importantly the traffic control device present at the intersection

Constable R.A.(Richard) ASELTON
Central Okanagan Traffic Services - Media Liaison
Kelowna R.C.M.P. Detachment

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About the Author

Tim Schewe is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. He has been writing his column for most of the 20 years of his service in the RCMP.

The column was 'The Beat Goes On' in Fort St. John, 'Traffic Tips' in the South Okanagan and now 'Behind the Wheel' on Vancouver Island and here on Castanet.net.

Schewe retired from the force in January of 2006, but the column has become a habit, and continues.

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