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Wide Curb Lanes BC Court of Appeal Ruling



Ilett was riding north on the wide paved shoulder of Admirals Road. Although the shoulders are used by cyclists as if they are bicycle lanes, they are not designated bicycle lanes.

Traffic was heavy and backed up. Cars heading north were in stop-and-go traffic.

Buckley was driving south. She stopped, put on her left-turn signal and waited to turn left onto Seenupin Road.

A big truck stopped. A gap ahead of the truck opened and the driver motioned Buckley through.

Ilett was on the shoulder, passing slower traffic. Illett saw the truck and the gap and did not apply his brakes as he approached the intersection.

Neither Ilett nor Buckley saw each other before the collision because the truck obstructed their views.

Buckley began her turn slowly, but before she could see Ilett she accelerated across the lane. Ilett crashed into her. He was thrown over the hood of her car and onto the pavement. He was taken to hospital with injuries.

At trial, the judge found it was illegal for Ilett to pass on the right because the shoulder was not a proper bicycle lane. She also found that Buckley drove into her left turn without hesitation when she did not have a clear view of the northbound shoulder.

The trial judge found Buckley did not take reasonable care for the safety of Ilett. She was found to be at fault for the collision and ordered to pay $500,000 in damages.

The Court of Appeal found that the trial judge erred when she found Ilett took reasonable care for his own safety.

Ilett was riding on the shoulder of the road at about 30 km/h and made no attempt to slow down or to see whether the intersection was clear, the Court of Appeal ruling said.

“It cannot be the case that a cyclist who proceeds at speed into an intersection in the circumstances with which Mr. Ilett was faced, without stopping or slowing down, can be said to have discharged his duty to ride with due care and attention and with reasonable consideration for others using the highway,” the Court of Appeal said.

Ilett should have slowed down or stopped until he could see the intersection was clear.

“His failure to take what would have been reasonable care caused or contributed to the collision and the injuries he suffered,” the court said.

The decision sets out that when it’s impossible to say who is more at fault, liability should be divided equally, said Cameron, who believes the decision is a good result for the cyclist.

“Speaking purely as a cyclist, that’s something I would avoid doing. Here he is passing on the inside when he’s not allowed to, approaching an intersection at speed where there’s a big truck and he can’t see oncoming traffic,” Cameron said.

“I think 50-50 is a reasonable outcome for this accident.”