2013 Annual Conference Recap

Special thanks to everyone who joined us, either in person or virtually, for our second Annual Conference from October 25th-27th 2013. We are pleased to be able to confirm that we had representatives from 17 organizations from around the province among our delegates. Over the course of the weekend we were able to touch on critical issues related to cycling in BC including education, infrastructure, and a new focus on positive marketing, among others. This conference also kicked off the start of two new BC Cycling Coalition programs including the CycloTouring BC Sector Initiative and the Hazard Reduction Strategy.
Thank you to everyone who presented over the course of the weekend. If you missed the event, or if you want to do some more follow-up reading, a number of the presentations are available below. If you presented at the conference and your presentation is not listed please contact us to have it included.

Infrastructure 101

Evidence about Route Safety and Preference, Dr. Kay Teschke, UBC School of Population and Public Health
Bike Parking 101, Elco Gauw, Urban Racks
Planning and Designing for People of All Ages and Abilities, Brian Patterson, Urban Systems

Education 101

Why Infrastructure Isn’t Always Enough, Erin O’Melinn, HUB: Your Cycling Connection
Right to Bike, Kerry Hamilton, HASTe BC & Right to Bike Committee
Cycling Education in Metro Vancouver, Paul Cheng, TravelSmart

Marketing and Social Media for the Grassroots

Digital Strategy and the Social Web, Mauree Aki Matsusaka and Stephen Irving
Effectively Marketing Bicycle Culture, Chris Bruntlett, Vancouver Cycle Chic

CycloTouring BC Workshops

Session 1 Opportunities for a BC CycloTouring Sector Initiative, Jack Becker and Rob Bernhardt, BC Cycling Coalition
Session 2 Shaping the BC CycloTouring Initiative, Jack Becker and Rob Bernhardt, BC Cycling Coalition
CycloTouringBC Workshop Notes – October 27 2013

Download the 2013 Conference Program

Annual Conference 2013 Final Program

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Congratulations to our new board of directors

Congratulations to the new Board of Directors who were elected to two-year terms on October 26th 2013 at this year’s AGM.

Richard Campbell

Jack Becker
Rob Bernhardt
Colin Brander
Kevin Chan
Arthur Orsini
Peter Stary
Arne Elias
Ray Straatsma
Barry Bogart
Aaron Dixon
Cornelia Dinca

Additionally Jim Alix, Fiona Walsh and Ed Schum were elected in 2012 and will be continuing in the second year of their two year terms.

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Safety and Speed Review Needs to Ensure Cycling Safety is Improved


The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is undertaking a Safety and Speed Review of highways between communities in B.C. One outcome could be the raising of speed on highways, many of which are popular cycling routes and in many cases, the only reasonable route.

The British Columbia Cycling Coalition has strong concerns about traffic speeds on British Columbia’s roads and in particular their effect on the safety and comfort of people cycling.  We strongly recommend that the Province take advantage of this opportunity to ensure that cycling facilities meet or exceed the standards for the actual speed of vehicles on highways.   Unfortunately, the majority of B.C.’s highways, including some newer ones like the Sea to Sky, provide sub-standard cycling conditions.  An increase in traffic speeds would compound the difficulties cyclists already face.  We are concerned that increased speed limits would not only affect the safety of cyclists but also discourage people from cycling for transportation, recreation and tourism. This may well affect the future growth of cycling and the large quality of life and economic benefits that cycling already contributes, and is poised to further contribute, to British Columbia.

The BCCC recommends that speed limit increases not be considered on any highway unless there are adequate facilities present for cyclists of varying abilities and comfort levels and that a review of cycling facilities, maintenance procedures and cycling collisions be undertaken in conjunction with the speed limit review.

Adequate cycling facilities can be provided by a variety of means, such as:

  • Sufficiently wide paved shoulders that are well maintained and kept free of road debris.  Some of the factors bearing on sufficient width are listed below;

  • Physically separated bike lanes, preferably directional and properly integrated into intersection design;

  • High quality bike paths within  highway rights-of-way, with safe and efficient crossings of intersecting roads;

  • A high quality bike path outside of a highway right-of-way could be an option if it involved no substantive increase in distance or grade.

Sufficient shoulder width should account for the following factors:

  • Speed of traffic on the adjacent roadway;

  • The volume of buses, large trucks and RV’s, bearing in mind wind turbulence and off-tracking on corners;

  • The presence of significant cross-winds and grades (cyclists need more space for weaving when climbing or negotiating cross-winds and avoiding obstacles when descending);

  • The presence and condition of rumble strips, drainage grates and road-side barriers, all of which can reduce useable space and collect debris;

  • How frequently debris accumulates and how quickly it is cleared.

Take Action

  1. Write Minister Stone - While the public input opportunities for the Safety and Speed Review have ended, it is still a good idea to write the Hon. Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure [email protected] regarding cycling safety. Copy Transportation Critic, Claire Trevena, [email protected] and your MLA. Please relate your personal experience regarding safety issues and speed on B.C. roads.
  2. Read and endorse our Position Statement
  3. Join the BC Cycling Coalition. Your support makes our campaigns and programs possible
  4. Share this campaign widely

Posted in Action, Cycling and the Law, Safety | Leave a comment

HUB and BCCC Join GetOnBoard BC

HUB and the BC Cycling Coalition have joined the GetOnBoard BC coalition. GetOnBoard BC is a non-partisan coalition of residents, students, workers, businesses, academics and other groups which works to improve public transit in Metro Vancouver.

On joining the coalition, HUB released a statement: “HUB believes an efficient and reliable transit system is key to the economic, personal and community health of our region. Not only does it provide an accessible and sustainable form of mobility, it plays an important part of supporting cycling trips, reducing the need to own a car, and allowing multi-modal trips which combine cycling and transit. HUB supports GetOnBoard BC and more sustainable transportation investments in the region.”

Campaign Director Lee Haber was pleased to see the GetOnBoard BC coalition grow. “Transit and cycling go together, so it makes sense that cycling and transit organizations work together to bring more sustainable transportation. It’s great to have HUB and the BCCC part of our coalition” said Mr. Haber.

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De Facto Fiasco

The British Columbia Court of Appeal has produced a brand new decision involving two cars which adversely impacts a cyclist’s ability to pass vehicles on the right. Not only does the decision represent another nail in the passing on the right coffin, it underscores the necessity for legislative change.

The facts of the case were simple enough. A car was turning left at an intersection. Another driver was going straight through, passing vehicles to her left which had stopped to allow the left turning car to proceed. The road was divided by a solid yellow line. The car proceeding straight was in a lane which widened to accommodate a second lane for right turning vehicles about 200 feet ahead. This is called a “de facto lane” – it is in fact wide enough to accommodate two lanes of traffic but is not separated from the lane next to it by a white line marking.

Cyclists live and breathe in de facto lanes. They lay awake dreaming about de facto lanes. These lanes represent a natural invitation to pass on the right because there is physical space to do so.

At Trial, the driver of the left turning vehicle was found completely at fault. However, she successfully appealed on the basis that the other driver could not properly pass vehicles on the right in the de facto lane because she could not fit herself within the strict confines of the Motor Vehicle Act.

By way of background, many cyclists were concerned about a decision from the Court of Appeal in 2010 wherein a cyclist was faulted for riding between the through lane and the de facto right lane rather than taking the through lane prior to reaching an intersection. That case is thought to have at least acknowledged the existence of de facto lanes but left some uncertainty as to whether or not a de facto lane was one of the exceptions to the general prohibition against passing on the right found in the Motor Vehicle Act. On the facts of that case it was unnecessary to decide whether or not the Motor Vehicle Act permitted the cyclist to pass on the right, given the finding that he had dangerously placed himself between the through lane and the de facto lane.

In this new decision, B.C.’s highest Court appears to have completely closed the door on any hope that the de facto lane is an unobstructed lane of travel for purposes of fitting in to one of the exceptions to the Motor Vehicle Act prohibition.

The Court reminded the parties that the Motor Vehicle Act prohibits one vehicle passing another on the right: “the driver of a vehicle must not cause or permit the vehicle to overtake and pass on the right of another vehicle….”. The Court then went on to define the three exceptions as follows: “essentially, passing on the right is permitted when the overtaken vehicle is turning left, when passing on a lane roadway, or when passing on a one way street where room permits.”

The trouble lies in the Court’s finding that a de facto lane is not one of the exceptions to the prohibition against passing on the right. Mr. Justice Lowry, writing for the whole Court, stated: “the exception is confined to passing on the right where there are two marked lanes for vehicles proceeding in the same direction and only then when passing can be undertaken in safety. Here, there was only one such lane regardless there was what might be called a second de facto lane. I recognize this means drivers proceeding to turn right at the intersection, as Ms. Marrison was, could not align their vehicles to enter the 100 foot marked lane until it was virtually reached, if there were vehicles ahead in the ‘through’ lane that were not turning left, but that is what the Act provides and it appears to me to be with good reason. If it were otherwise, drivers would be entitled to pass on the right wherever the road is sufficiently wide for two vehicles to pass.”

Inasmuch as the Motor Vehicle Act provides that cyclists have the same obligations as motorists, this decision is highly problematic. The reality of a cyclist’s daily commute features routine travel to the right side of vehicular traffic, often overtaking vehicles in heavy traffic situations. British Columbia’s highest Court has confirmed this is now only legally possible when there is a marked lane in which to pass and only then when it is safe. No one would quarrel with the latter proposition that the passing must be safe, but the narrow definition of a laned roadway puts cyclists in the unenviable position of having to routinely break the law when passing in a widened lane not marked by a white line.

Once again I’m left wondering why anyone ever thought it was a bright idea to enact a law which states that motorists and cyclists have the same legal obligations. In my humble opinion, this was de facto a bad move and needs to be revisited by the legislature. It reminds me why I wear a helmet. So I don’t tear my hair out.

David Hay is a litigation lawyer and partner at Richards Buell Sutton, LLP. He has a special interest in bike injury law and can be contacted at 604.661.9250 or [email protected]

Posted in Cycling, Cycling and the Law, Motor Vehicle Act | Leave a comment