Drivers & Cyclists Sharing the Road in Vancouver

Drivers and cyclists have no choice but to share the same road. As more people cycle; misunderstandings, near accidents, and actual bicycle accidents have become a regular occurrence between the two commuter groups. Thousands of people sustain injuries from these types of incidents in Vancouver every year, and  many of these instances turn into personal injury lawsuits.

While both parties will argue that the other is at fault for a particular accident, the truth of the matter is that each case depends on its facts. Commuters in general, can make roads much safer by simply respecting the rules of the road, and learning some methods to sharing the road effectively with each other.

Next time you hit the streets in your car or on your bike, keep the following tips in mind, and make sure you respectfully and safely interact with all your fellow commuters!

1.  Obey All Traffic Regulations

The majority of people aim to drive responsibly, but it never hurts to brush up on traffic regulations. For example, when commuting by car, make sure you signal every turn. Keep in mind that proper signaling means activating your blinker well ahead of actually making your turn or merging into a lane. Give other drivers and cyclists some warning—signal your maneuver a few seconds before executing.

The same rule applies to cyclists. Bicycles aren’t usually equipped with turn signals, so you have to use your hands instead. Use hand movements to indicate your intent. Also, don’t forget that cyclists have to follow the same rules as motorists. Obey all traffic control devices, and always ride in the same direction as traffic flow.

2.  Wear All Necessary Safety Equipment

If you drive, wear a seatbelt. If you ride a bike, wear a helmet and reflective gear. Sometimes accidents are unavoidable; wearing safety gear will reduce the amount of damage your body absorbs, and can even save your life. If you need more information on which helmet is appropriate for what mode of transportation, review our helpful helmet guide today! 

3.  Drive Cautiously

The proper use of safety gear and equipment, however, will do nothing to actually prevent an accident. Therefore, you should always drive cautiously, remain alert at all times, and do all you can to prevent an accident. Watch the commuters around you as you travel—if you stay focused, you should be able to spot and avoid potential dangers way before they have a chance to occur.

4.  Leave Plenty of Space between Yourself and Other Cars and Bicycles

Cyclists have as much right to be on the road as motorists. Drivers need to make sure not to infringe upon the cyclists space in order to avoid striking a cyclist or forcing them to maneuver onto unsafe territory.

At the same time, cyclists are required to ride as close to the right side of the road as possible. Cyclists who do not respect these rules force drivers to swerve into the lane beside them, which can cause car accidents or collisions with other vehicles; not to mention the risks cyclists run of being struck themselves. This is why it is crucial for cyclists to remain aware of the vehicles around them, and be sure to alert drivers of your intentions using hand signals.

5.  Ride Single File

Since cyclists should ideally have a metre, or more, between them and nearby cars, the smart choice would be to ride in single file. It is also the law that bike riders are prohibited from riding abreast of each other. Following this common sense and legal rule means you won’t have any trouble if one rider loses control, or needs to make an emergency maneuver to avoid an obstacle. By ignoring this suggestion, a cyclist’s unexpected swerve could create dangerous, and potentially fatal, conditions for other bicyclists and motorists.

6.  Put Your Electronics Away

Phones, MP3 players, tablets, computers, and other electronics are a major distraction during your commute. You your attention should be completely focused on the road, in order to anticipate the actions of other drivers and cyclists – even a split-second glance at your phone can be the cause of a major collision. Put the electronics away. If car-pooling, you can also pass your phone to a passenger when the phone call can’t wait.

7.  Don’t Commute Under the Influence

Whether you drive a car or ride a bike, you need to abstain from alcohol during your commute. Alcohol not only affects your visual perception, it also lowers your inhibitions – which likely means you’ll take more risky chances than you normally would.

Contact Taylor & Blair LLP for Bicyle Accident or Cyclist Personal Injury Lawyers

Of course, even if following these tips completely, the risk of an accident remains very real. If you are involved in a collision, and have sustained an injury, remember that you can always turn to a personal injury lawyer for compensation. However, as long as roads are courteously shared between drivers and cyclists, the risks of accidents and lawsuits are greatly reduced. So use these tips to make the road a safer place the next time you commute. Contact Taylor & Blair LLP today for a consultation.

Kevin Blair &
Graham Taylor

Taylor & Blair LLP
Personal Injury lawyers
1607 – 805 West Broadway
Vancouver, B.C.