Is a cyclist at fault for riding through an intersection? In the Star's Wheels section a cyclist asks Eric Lai whether he was wrong to ride across an intersection. This cyclist was told by a cop that he was at fault for getting hit by a left turning vehicle while crossing the intersection.
Here's the Question:
Q: While riding my bicycle on the road, a car traveling in the opposite direction turned left in front of me at an intersection, causing me to collide with it.
At the hospital, police advised: "You're at fault because the law states that whenever a cyclist crosses an intersection, they have to get off their bicycle and walk. It doesn't matter if you're riding on the sidewalk or on the road."
Even though I had the right of way on a green light, the officer insists that a cyclist is considered a pedestrian and not a vehicle.
I feel I've been wronged and a careless driver escaped responsibility.
Jim Yeh, Markham
It could be the Star edited the question, or that the cyclist isn't telling us that he was actually riding in the crosswalk. There are by-laws about riding in the crosswalk in most cities, though it seems less a crime than running into someone. In fact, one of the responses suggests there was more to it: "The officer believed that the cyclist was riding "along" the edge of the crosswalk, not necessarily in it, but even if he was on the right edge of the roadway along the crosswalk, the law requires the cyclist to dismount and walk across the intersection."
If we got the same question given to the Sergeant and Ontario transportation ministry spokesperson, and bike union spokesperson, Yvonne Bambrick, then the responses by the authorities look ignorant and prejudiced against cyclists. I'd prefer to think that The Toronto Star just did a bad edit on the question, but that makes Eric's response mysterious too. Eric addresses the question of whether the cyclist was in the crosswalk or not:
A bicycle is considered a "vehicle" under Section 1(1) HTA. If he's anywhere (left, right or centre) within his proper lane as required by Section 154 HTA, then I believe the crosswalk is a non-issue.
Basically, it hinges on this: Did he remain within the through-traffic lane (no violation in my opinion), or did he move outside of that lane and ride alongside the crosswalk?
Well, so who was told what? Given all the facts it tends to make the officials a bit prejudiced, and that just might be an indicator of their default thinking regarding cyclists: law-flaunting individuals who might not deserve to get hit, but it will certainly teach them a lesson they won't soon forget.