–Constable Tim Schewe
I found this Tweet from a cyclist on southern Vancouver Island recently:
A #RCMP told me today it was too dangerous to ride a bike on the roads and I should find another hobby. In their view going to the grocery store on a #bike is a hobby. #Police and the public need to wake up #bikes are a serious mode of transport.
This officer must have missed some important reading in their copy of the Motor Vehicle Act.
Rights and duties of operator of cycle
183 (1) In addition to the duties imposed by this section, a person operating a cycle on a highway has the same rights and duties as a driver of a vehicle.
Turnabout is fair play however, as I have also prosecuted a traffic ticket that I issued to a cyclist who ran a red light. His defense in traffic court was that he was not a driver and that same Motor Vehicle Act only spoke of vehicles and drivers when imposing the duty to stop.
Let’s pause here for a moment and get right back to the basics of a highway. Many of us tend to think of this as a stretch of pavement posted with speeds of 80 km/h or more and designated by a number. Highway 1, Highway 97, or Highway 3 come to mind as they are major provincial routes.
These are very specific instances and the reality is much broader. The definition of a highway in section 1 of the Transportation Act says
“highway” means a public street, road, trail, lane, bridge, trestle, tunnel, ferry landing, ferry approach, any other public way or any other land or improvement that becomes or has become a highway by any of the following:…..
There are many public ways where most motorized vehicles cannot go, yet they are in fact highways that are open to many other modes of use.
My point here is that in law, highways are intended for use by drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. In short, everyone.
While there are rules for how that traffic is meant to interact, all of the three are equally important and equally entitled to use the highway within those rules.
Ignorance of these rules and a false sense of entitlement on the part of all types of road user get in the way of the system functioning as intended.
When this misunderstanding is present in our traffic enforcement authorities, people who really should know, it must be addressed.
After inquiring, I learned that the cyclist had noted the officer’s name from their name tag. However, he headed off my impending suggestion of communicating the situation to that officer’s manager by stating that he was afraid of retaliation if he did.
I’ll try to deal with this in next week’s article…
- DriveSmartBC: Should I Signal?
- DriveSmartBC: When emergency vehicles can violate traffic rules
- DriveSmartBC: Turning Right in Sechelt
- DriveSmartBC: RCMP advanced driver training taught the four corners of the car
- Distracted Driving Laws in B.C.
- DriveSmartBC: “Spring Cleaning” for your trailer’s surge brakes
- DriveSmartBC: The Wisdom of Google
- DriveSmartBC: Please, Not So Close!
- DriveSmartBC: The ICBC “Dumpster Fire”
- DriveSmartBC: Intersection watch, stop sign refresher
- DriveSmartBC: Things that go bump in the parking lot
- DriveSmartBC: Problems with deferred maintenance
- DriveSmartBC: Fear of police retaliation
- DriveSmartBC: Taking cyclists seriously
- Car owner tip: Refer to your owner’s manual
- DriveSmart: Exit not required, you can stay an “N” drivers forever!
- Resistance to stopping can be overcome, for safety’s sake
- DriveSmart: Why didn’t the pedestrian cross the road?
- DriveSmart: It’s winter tire time again
- Driving: Top Pet Peeves experienced by drivers
- Distracted driving statistics — what to believe?
- DriveSmart: Driving at Night in the Rain
- Highway crashes happen in less than a minute; getting meaningful information can take forever
- Testing a driver’s knowledge at licence renewal
- Is it time to stop driving?
- When it comes to driving safety, little things can make a big difference
- Conflict over Right-of-Way
- Thoughts from the ICBC Rate Fairness report
- Slow down, move over: A shared responsibility
- What causes crashes, and how do we know?
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