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Court ruling suggests cyclists passing on the right could be responsible in a crash

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – You probably see cyclists passing vehicles on the right when it may not be so safe. Now there’s a new BC Court of Appeal ruling suggesting cyclists that do it could be responsible if they get injured in a crash.

Five years ago a cyclist was hurt after passing a vehicle on the right hand side. The vehicle swerved toward the biker causing the rider to lose control resulting in a collision. In that case Ormiston v. ICBC, the BC Court of Appeal found the cyclist at fault for a number of reasons including not adhering to the motor vehicle act and failing to wait for the driver.

After reviewing the conclusion of the case, Richard Campbell with the BC Cycling Coalition warns bikers to be a lot more cautious. “Now what this ruling says though, if one passes on the shoulder and not a bike lane, one could be held responsible for that if something does happen.”

Campbell says it’s okay to pass on the right when there’s a designated lane or enough space.

“If there’s not a shoulder, squeezing by traffic on the right, in the same light, it is not legal and it’s certainly not safe. We certainly encourage people not to do that,” he explains.

He plans to work with the province to try to make motor vehicle laws a lot clearer for everyone on the road. Meanwhile, ICBC advises those on two wheels should not use the shoulder to pass.