More people visit this post than all others put together. I think it’s a search engine thing. Since people actually do visit looking for advice, I though it best if I updated and re-arranged for clarity (and to make myself look better). Less rant – more info.
Thanks to “G, on September 10, 2012 at 11:04 am” for pointing out my mistakes.
Riding in crosswalks
I was riding home, here in Edmonton, Canada. It was warm, sunny, and clear. A beautiful fall day, and a beautiful ride, mostly through parkland. On a day like that there’s no place better to be than Edmonton.
I have a fair commute, each way. While the ride may be awesome, especially on a nice day, I’m in as much of a hurry to get home as any commuter.
I’d just crossed the river, turned left off of the LRT bridge, and was riding west along the River Road path, I’m guessing around 6:30 pm. I approached the River Road crossing I use to connect the River Road path to the Victoria Park path that climbs out of the valley.
The yellow lights were flashing, All traffic had stopped to wait while a pedestrian and another cyclist crossed. I was right behind them. Looking good so far, for me anyway. I took a look, and turned to cross in the crosswalk, still mounted.
A guy in a van a couple of cars down in the line screamed at the other cyclist that he had to dismount in a crosswalk. I yelled back, “No, he doesn’t.” A couple “Yes, he does!”, “No, he doesn’t!”‘s back and forth, and he became incensed.
I slowed down and looked back (at this particular crossing you have to). He proceeded to turn right when the traffic moved and chase me, driving behind me with his head stuck out the window yelling at me. I pulled into the Royal Glenora parking lot and got the inevitable lecture, after which I told him what my impression of the law was.
He said he had the right to run me down if I was riding in the crosswalk, and charge me with any damages to his van. People like that scare me, not so much for his misinterpretation of a law that isn’t very clear, but for the fact he thought he’d have the right to hit someone.
He had a blinking yellow, was required to yield at any rate (*only because cars in front of him have stopped), and he’d have had to wait much longer if we’d dismounted and walked across. It was to his advantage that we rode across, but that wasn’t the point, for him.
Really, I wasn’t sure of the law, and this puzzled me for some time. I recall reading that cyclists aren’t required to dismount when riding through crosswalks (not referring to riding on the sidewalk, but where bike paths and multi-use paths cross a street on a crosswalk). I’ve never been able to find where I read it. Was the guy right?
Drivers are required to give right of way to pedestrians, but not to cycists riding their bike.
If you’re walking your bike, you’re a pedestrian, and have the right of way.
If you’re riding your bike in a crossing, you’re a vehicle, and are expected to cede the right of way to any crossing traffic, including motor vehicles, pedestrians, and even other cyclists.
*Yellow Flashing Lights are for pedestrians, and don’t afford cyclists the same legal, or actual, protection.
So I sent an email to the city, and they helped clear it up for me:
Good morning Jim,
Thank you for your e-mail of September 29 . Your current impression of the legalities regarding cycling in crosswalks is correct.
There is currently no section in the Edmonton Traffic Bylaw 5590 or the Alberta Traffic Safety Act specifically dealing with cyclists in crosswalks. Cyclists are not legally required to dismount at crosswalks and there is nothing to prohibit a cyclist from riding along a crosswalk.
In terms of the operations of a crosswalk, as stated in the Alberta TSA “Use of Highway and Rules of the Road Regulation” Part 2, Division 4 (75): “A person driving a vehicle shall yield the right of way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within the crosswalk.”
Therefore, as you had recognized, only if a cyclist dismounts and is therefore considered a pedestrian and not a vehicle by law, does he or she obtain the right-of-way over motorists.
If a cyclist chooses to ride his or her bike along the crosswalk, they are considered a vehicle. The crosswalk only serves to provide protection for pedestrians.
This does not excuse vehicles from exercising due care, but they are not legally obligated to yield to a cyclist who rides through a crosswalk.
From our perspective, we typically encourage cyclists to dismount, especially at busier intersections. We must address all cyclists and their varying levels of skill and comfort.
I hope this helps. If you need any more clarification or have further concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me. Have a great day.
So, now we know.
Filed under: Bike Safety |