Sharing the road with cyclists

Sidney North Saanich RCMP columnist writes about the rules that affect cyclists and drivers

For anyone who has spent any time on the Island it is quickly apparent that cycling is a preferred method of transportation in the Capital region. Our area is renowned as the cycling capital of Canada. I, myself, am an avid cyclist. Whenever I go away on holidays I am always torn between whether to take my road bike or my mountain bike with me. The road bike usually wins.

At the Sidney North Saanich detachment we receive countless complaints involving cyclists on our roadways. Every year our members attend cycling accidents that result in serious personal injury or death.

I see cyclists disobeying the rules of the road and putting themselves and motorists in danger on a daily basis. We cyclists must be careful at all times as we are extremely vulnerable on roads. As a cyclist I have had some close calls with vehicles. One time while cycling on West Saanich Road I was run off the road by a van that was turning left onto West Saanich Road in front of me. The driver didn’t see me at all and luckily my only injury was some road rash from when I bailed. It was a good reminder to me that drivers are often not cognizant of cyclists.

A cyclist on a public roadway has the same rights and responsibilities as a person driving a motor vehicle.

Cyclists must obey all traffic control devices. This includes coming to a complete stop at all stop signs. As a police officer I have attended several cycling accidents that have occurred between bicycles and vehicles at intersections. The motor vehicle always wins.

Cycling on a sidewalk is prohibited unless otherwise specified; cyclists must not ride two or more abreast and cyclists must ride as close as possible to the right side of the roadway. So, for those of you involved in weekend cycling clubs, please remember to be courteous to others around you.

You must keep at least one hand on the handlebars at all time and riding side-saddle is strictly prohibited. Attaching yourself or your bike to a moving vehicle is also not allowed.

If you intend on cycling a half hour after sunset to a half hour before sunrise, you must have a front light on your bicycle and a red reflector and a lighted red lamp visible on the rear.

If you’re in an accident and there is personal injury or property damage, you have to remain at or immediately return to the scene, provide as much help as possible and identify yourself to the other people involved or directly affected.

Ride safely and remember you must also wear your helmet at all times.

Cpl. Erin Fraser is a supervisor and the media liaison officer for the Sidney North Saanich RCMP.