As a cyclist, where should I ride in a multi-lane intersection?

When riding through a multi-lane intersection, should I take the lane or ride as near to the right side of the road as practicable?

  • The Motor Vehicle Act requires cyclists to ride as “near as practicable” to the right side of the road, but where oncoming traffic might not see or expect the cyclist, the cyclist should take the lane.

In MacLaren v Kucharek, an experienced cyclist was travelling southbound approaching an intersection where there was a straight through lane and a right turn only lane after the intersection.  He positioned his bicycle to be just to the right of the straight through lane as he entered into the intersection.  A vehicle travelling northbound turned left and the cyclist hit the vehicle and went over its hood.

At trial, the cyclist was held not to be at fault at all.  The motorist appealed, arguing that the cyclist disobeyed Section 158(1) of the Motor Vehicle Act by passing vehicles in the centre lane on the right.  The Court of Appeal held the cyclist 50% at fault for riding between two commonly travelled lanes of traffic.  In the Court’s view, this was dangerous as a northbound left-turning driver would have little opportunity to see him as he cycled alongside vehicles to his left. 

In this case, even though Section 183(2) required him to ride as near as practicable to the right side of the road, the configuration of the intersection required him to take the lane to be able to cross the intersection safely.

This case illustrates problems with the Motor Vehicle Act which is there to regulate the movement of motor vehicles but also imposes rules on cyclists that do not necessarily protect the cyclist.

If you have been injured in a cyclist-vehicle collision, you need lawyers who know the law.  Contact us.

Read the case: MacLaren v. Kucharek