In British Columbia new designated bicycle lanes appear every day. These lanes are designed to provide bicyclist with an exclusive place on the road, free from motor vehicles. As these lanes are relatively new, injuries caused by motor vehicles entering bicycle lanes and colliding with bicycles are unfortunately relatively common. For example, this happens often when motor vehicles enter bicycle lanes when making turns or pulling into or out of parking spaces.
In this case, a truck pulled close to a cyclist. The cyclist put his hand onto the truck, to balance himself, as he thought the truck would strike his vehicle. The truck then drove forward without actually striking the bicycle. However, as the cyclist’s hand was on the truck, he did fall over when the truck accelerated forwards. The plaintiff, who was in his late 70s, was awarded approximately $200,000 in damages, mostly to compensate him for pain and suffering and future care costs.
This case illustrates the need to be extra cautious when around designated bicycle lanes. Cyclists have little protection, when compared to the occupants of motor vehicles, and are more easily injured. Cyclists, under the law, are allowed to act reasonably in response to sudden changes in circumstances, without being liable for collisions. For example it might not be unreasonable for a cyclist to swerve to avoid a collision with a vehicle, even if that evasive action resulted in the cyclist falling over.