Sharing The Road This Winter Cycling Season
December 20, 2021
As we transition into the winter cycling season it’s not only important to factor in the changing driving conditions but it’s also important to be mindful of how you’re sharing the road with people on bikes.
For people driving, sharing the road begins with the understanding that people on bikes have the same rights as you. They also have unique safety challenges being smaller and less visible, especially in the winter months when the sun sets earlier.
Slow Down and Never Stop or Park in a Bike Lane
As a person driving, you can help keep people cycling safe by slowing down, never stopping or parking in bike lanes, and looking over your shoulder before opening the car door. In many municipalities, it’s illegal to stop your vehicle in a bike lane. In the City of Vancouver doing so may cost you a $200 fine.
Establish a Minimum Passing Distance of at least 1.5 Meters
Currently, British Columbia doesn’t have a law establishing a minimum passing distance between people driving and people walking, cycling, or scootering. But safe passing distance laws exist in over 39 jurisdictions in North America, including Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. As shared through our previous post on Road Safety 101: How to be a bike-friendly driver, allowing 1.5 meters of space between a person driving and a person cycling creates a safer riding experience for people on bikes.
Factoring in a 1.5-meter minimum passing distance will be an asset while you navigate the roads, especially as daylight hours diminish, and driving and riding conditions become impacted by decreased visibility.
A collision can occur when someone driving attempts to pass a person cycling and does not leave at least 1.5 meters safe passing distance. Passing so close to the person on a bike can startle them and cause them to collide. Or, worse, the person driving could hit the person on the bike because they’ve not allowed enough space while passing. Passing too close can also result in a fine.
Use your Vehicle’s Signals. Avoid Dooring by doing the Dutch Reach.
As a driver, you should yield to people cycling and signal well in advance if you need to cross a designated bike lane. One in 7 bike crashes in Vancouver are from dooring! “Getting doored” is a major problem, and can kill. As a driver or a passenger in a vehicle, it is your responsibility to check your mirror and do a shoulder check before getting out (use your right hand to open the driver's side door - it forces you to turn your body around to look back!). The Province of British Columbia significantly increased the fine for “dooring” to $368 last year.
This winter cycling season, Uber Canada and HUB Cycling are calling road users everywhere to collectively continue to work towards keeping everyone safe on the road. Thanks for watching out for vulnerable road users, like people biking, and helping ensure the safety of all road users.
To learn more about Uber Canada, visit https://www.uber.com/ca/en/