10 Ways for Drivers and Cyclists to Safely Share B.C. Highways

Every month, from May to October, 160 cyclists are injured in B.C. (This sad statistic is from ICBC).

Whether on fat tires or skinny tires, everyone driving and cycling, needs to share the roads and the responsibility for safety.

Cyclists are entitled to use the majority of provincial roads – from smaller two-lane highways around popular cycling destinations, to remote highways like the Stewart-Cassiar, to high-speed, high-volume routes like the Lougheed Highway (Highway 7). Plenty of people cycle provincial highways to commute to their jobs, whether in Northern B.C. and Vancouver Island, or the Lower Mainland and Southern Interior, and not just during Bike to Work Week. Plus cyclists pedal provincial highways for recreation, fitness, tourism and occasionally, competition.

Share the Road

In some places, the routes may not have shoulders or bike lanes. In others, they do. Wherever cyclists and drivers may be, here are 10 ways to savor the open road, stay aware of all types of travellers and keep safe.

Top Tips for Cyclist-Savvy Drivers on Highways:

  • Don’t drive on the shoulders and don’t cut into the curve – there may be a cyclist (or pedestrian) around that bend.
  • Watch for cyclists, if you’re turning onto the highway from a driveway or other road.
  • Shoulder check before turning right, and scan for cyclists when turning left, to ensure you spot cyclists.

Top Tips for Cyclists on Highways:

  • Keep your bike tuned up – especially before the season’s start and bigger bike treks. Do it yourself or turn your two-wheeled transport over to a bike mechanic.
  • Before you launch, plan your route to travel bike lanes and paths as much as possible. Cycling routes can be found on Google Maps and many municipal websites.
  • Be sure your bike’s headlight can be seen at 150 metres, and your rear red light and reflector is visible from 100 metres.
  • Wear reflective gear to help keep you visible in all weather and at all times of day.
  • Give your trusty helmet an occasional look over to ensure it will still protect you in a crash. (Of course you always wear your approved cycling helmet because you want to shield your head, plus it’s the law.)
  • Stay tuned to what’s around you – not to ear buds. Look well ahead for hazards like gravel, potholes and wildlife.
  • Watch for vehicles entering your route from other roads or laneways.

Image Bike Highway

B.C. is a big, beautiful province for driving and cycling. No matter what your tire width, you can enjoy the open road and help keep everyone safe, by watching out for all types of wheeled transportation.

Have you checked out BikeBC, where you’ll find loads of useful information, including how we’re working with communities to enhance cycling infrastructure?

Page 1 of 21 comments on “10 Ways for Drivers and Cyclists to Safely Share B.C. Highways”

Leave a Reply to Phil Cancel reply

    • Hi Phil,

      Great question. According to the BC Motor Vehicle Act referenced below, yes, they must ride single file.

      Rights and duties of operator of cycle

      183 (1) In addition to the duties imposed by this section, a person operating a cycle on a highway has the same rights and duties as a driver of a vehicle.

      (2) A person operating a cycle

      (a) must not ride on a sidewalk unless authorized by a bylaw made under section 124 or unless otherwise directed by a sign,

      (b) must not, for the purpose of crossing a highway, ride on a crosswalk unless authorized to do so by a bylaw made under section 124 or unless otherwise directed by a sign,

      (c) must, subject to paragraph (a), ride as near as practicable to the right side of the highway,

      (d) must not ride abreast of another person operating a cycle on the roadway,

      • They do it all the time on the cycling roads in Vancouver, 7th,10th…. Then they yell when I honk and want to pass. How do we educate the new cycling public? I had a course in grade 2 that taught us the rules of the road. 1969.

        • Hello again Jeff,

          Here’s what we heard from the Commercial Vehicle Safety Enforcement officers: Regardless of the license they have, the maximum length of an RV allowed in BC is 41 foot ( 12.5 metres). There are no permits available to exceed that maximum length.

          We hope that this is helpful.

  1. I second what Dave says above. Share the Road signs are ambiguous and actually rather dangerous. It is time to change them for signs that say “Bikes may use Full Lane”.

    I live on Hornby Island and our roads are too narrow for a car to pass a bike in the same lane. We have very rough and uneven shoulders and narrow two lane roads. But we have many, many visitors in the summer and many tourists with bicycles. It makes for a very unsafe environment if the drivers don’t understand that they cannot pass bikes in the same lane!

    Please take this seriously.

    Thank you,

    • Hi Barbara,

      Thanks for connecting with us here and sharing your concern. We have shared your comment with our Traffic Engineers for review. Thanks again!

  2. The “share the road” signs are outdated as studies have found that the perception of many drivers is that bikes should not be on the road and their idea of “share the road” is that bikes should be in the dirt and I don’t have to give them space. Better signs would clearly describe the amount of space drivers should give the bikes or that bikes “may use full lane” as some places in the USA have done. http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0136973

    • Hi Dave,

      Thanks for connecting with us here and sharing this. We have forwarded your comment to our traffic engineers for review.

        • Hello Fraser – thanks for your comment. The money to build and maintain roads does not come specifically from motorists, rather from all British Columbians, through their tax contributions. We receive a portion of that amount (our annual budget) to maintain and improve highways for all users, wherever possible. Hope that this information is helpful. Safe travels.

  3. I think all cyclists should have rear view mirrors so that you know what is going on behind them. I use one mounted on my helmet so by twisting my head a little I can scan a broad scene. Here in the Interior we have lots of logging trucks. Say you’re cycling toward an inter section leading into the mills. Looking in your mirror you see a logging truck coming and you can see that its got its right signal light on. No sense trying get through the intersection first. You can slow down or maybe even stop to let it make its turn. Maybe someday you’ll hear a vehicle coming up behind you with a siren on. A glance in your mirror and you’ll know to pull over and stop. Checking your rear view mirror often will prevent sudden surprise when something over takes you; like an electric scooter! They don’t make any sound! But you`ll have seen it coming in your mirror! Have a great safe summer cycling!!