Motor Vehicle Law and Bicycles (13:XIII)
A cyclist has the same rights and duties as a driver of a motor vehicle including the duties of safe operation, care, attention, consideration, and provision of information at the scene of an accident, of other highway users. In addition, the Motor Vehicle Act provides that an individual commits an offence if he or she operates or is a passenger on a bicycle on a “highway” and is not wearing a helmet (s 184). A “highway” is defined as any road, street, or avenue that a vehicle can drive on. Almost every municipality, including the City of Vancouver, has followed this section of the Motor Vehicle Act by passing bylaws requiring cyclists to wear bicycle helmets.
Furthermore, cyclists must ride on a designated bicycle path, if available, or if not, then in single file as near as practical to the right side of the road (s 183(2)). Lamps and reflectors are required for a cycle operated on a highway between one half-hour after sunset and one half-hour before sunrise (s 183(6)).
In the event of an accident, the cyclist must remain at the scene and lend assistance (s 183(9)). Cyclists are being considered increasingly responsible for accidents they are involved in. One particular area where cyclists are being held responsible is where they pass a driver on the right while the driver is also turning right at an intersection. If a cyclist is hit by a car turning right while the cyclist is passing on the right, it is possible the cyclist may be found at fault. This is indicative of a general trend of cyclists being treated like motor vehicles. If a cyclist is hit while breaking a traffic law, it is quite possible that the cyclist may be held at fault.