What are a cyclist’s duties in making multiple lane changes?

  • Ensure that it is safe to change lanes
  • Ensure that your lane change will not affect drivers already in the lane
  • Signal your lane change
  • Do all of the above from a position where you can see other vehicles, and they can see you, even if that means moving away from the right side of the road

In Miles v. Kumar the cyclist was riding in the right lane of two, and wanted to enter into the left turn lane.  He shoulder checked and saw headlights behind him, far enough back that he felt he could safely change lanes.  He shoulder checked again, signalled his intention, then changed lanes and was hit just after he entered the left lane.  The driver of the car had not seen the cyclist before the collision, and thought that a panel van in the right lane had blocked her view.

The judge decided that the cyclist was entirely at fault.  The driver had the right of way in her lane before the cyclist changed lanes.  Anybody changing lanes can only do so if this can be done in safety, without affecting drivers already in the lane, and after signalling.  These duties are only effectively performed if the cyclist is in a position where he can clearly see the lane, and where those affected can clearly see his signal.  However, the cyclist had been on the far right side of the road when he shoulder checked and signalled.  The truck in the right lane both obscured his view of the driver in the left lane, and made it impossible for her to see his signal.

Although the judge acknowledged that the Motor Vehicle Act requires a cyclist to ride as near as practicable to the right side of the road, he said that a cyclist must either wait until he has a clear view before changing lanes, or perform a further shoulder check and signal from a position where he is able to seen approaching vehicles and be seen by them.

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Read the case:  Miles v. Kumar