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Deutshmann Personal Injury & Disability Law - PERSONAL INJURY & DISABILITY LAW BLOG
Who has the right of way in designated cyclist lanes?
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If you are a cyclist in a bike lane regular traffic rules apply to you regarding traffic lights, stop signs and signalling. However, if you are cycling straight through a traffic light drivers of cars who are turning right must yield to bikes going straight. Drivers should be signalling, and checking their mirrors and their blind spot BEFORE turning right through a bike lane.

Drivers should only ever pass a cyclist when it is legal and safe to do so, and must maintain a minimum of 1 metre between the car and the vehicle.

Bike lanes are designated in the Region of Waterloo with signage on the roadside and on the road itself. They generally occur at the side of the road between the car lane and the shoulder. Cars are not permitted to park in bike lanes. Bikes should be heading with the direction of traffic in these lanes. In Kitchener, we have Sharrows which are green lanes with bikes stencilled on them. On roadways marked with sharrow bicycles are entitled to use the full lane of the road. When cars are present they should be patient and may NOT pass the cyclist until it is safe to do so.

In Toronto, there are designated cycle tracks which are lanes physically separated from cars lanes. Rules of the road apply to cyclists in these lanes as well. All lights and signage should be obeyed by cyclist. In areas where there is a cycling lane cars can enter or cross the lane when there is a skipped white line in order to turn right. Drivers may only enter the lane when it is safe and clear to do so. Cyclists should pass drivers turning right on the driver side of the car to avoid being hit by the car. When a vehicle is approaching the intersection and there is a cyclist in front of them that the driver is required to wait behind the cyclist.

The City of Kitchener has a great website outlining the signage and rules for drivers and cyclists. Here is an excerpt from it. Please go to the page for the full text.

Kitchener's new cycling infrastructure

Bike Boxes:

View the Bike Box posterThank you to the City of Ottawa for use of their bike box image.

A bike box is used at intersections to increase the visibility of cyclists and help avoid collisions. Cyclists are positioned in front of motorists and can therefore proceed through the intersection first when the light turns green. Right turns on red lights are generally not permitted in these intersections. Bike boxes increase cyclist visibility and reduce the risk of "right hook" collisions after a green signal.  Kitchener's bike boxes are located in the downtown on Water Street, between King Street and Joseph Street. 

  • What cyclists should know:  When a traffic signal is red, enter the bike box from the approaching green bike lane. Stop before the crosswalk. When the light is green, cyclists should proceed normally. Be aware of right-turning motorists, especially while in the intersection.
  • What motorists should know: When the traffic signal is yellow or red motorists must stop behind the white stop line, before the green bike box.  Do not stop on top of the bike box as it must be kept clear for cyclists. When the light turns green, motorists and cyclists may move through the intersection as usual, with cyclists going first. Motorists making a right turn must signal and check to see that the bike box in front of them and the bike lane on their right is clear before proceeding.


View the Sharrow posterThank you to the City of Ottawa for use of their sharrow image.

Pavement markings, represented as a bicycle with two chevrons, which remind motorists and cyclists to be courteous and share the road. Further treatments include highly visible green paint.

  • What cyclists should know: Sharrows indicate that cyclists may take the whole travel lane. Ride in the direction of traffic, at least one metre from the curb to avoid the "door-zone" of parked vehicles. Sidewalks are reserved for pedestrians, although cyclists are welcome to dismount and walk with their bicycle on sidewalks.
  • What motorists should know: Sharrows positioned central to the lane remind you that it is unsafe to drive side-by-side with cyclists. Whenever a cyclist claims the lane, be patient and share the road! You should only pass a cyclist when there is enough space to do so, leaving a minimum of one metre between your vehicle and the cyclist.

Marked shared-use lane:

Traffic lanes which are marked with a "Share the Road" sign and / or sharrow pavement markings.

Bicycle lanes: 

A travel lane on an urban roadway intended for use by cyclists only, marked by a white line, bicycle and diamond pavement markings, and regulatory signs indicating their use reserved for cyclists.

Boulevard multi-use trail:

A multi-use trail, intended for a variety of users, constructed within the road right-of-way located in the boulevard and generally parallel to the road.

Signed bicycle route:

Typically a local street posted with a 'bicycle route' sign to indicate that it is a link in a cycling network, connects to a key destination, or provides continuity for cyclists along local streets that connect trails.

Posted on Tuesday, Jan 30, 2018 - 09:15:00 AM EST
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