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Old 09-07-05, 10:15 AM   #1
maverick_21
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Canadians using the entire lane

Yesterday I was biking up Queen street in Toronto, taking up the lane right lane as I usually do with little problems, when a cabbie starts tailgating me and honking like a madman. I decide to ignore him, especially since there is a parked car just a few meters ahead, but he passes me without changing the lane, purposely blowing by me and missing me by a few inches. Of course he had to immediately change lanes again because of the parked car. I caught up to him -- interesting how he'd risk my life to gain no time on his trip whatsoever -- and really gave it to him, calling him an ignorant driver and letting him know that he'll kill someone one of these days. He was pretty convinced, however, that I have to hug the curb if a car is overtaking me. I decided to look it up and found this in the highway traffic act:

Slow vehicles to travel on right side

147. (1) Any vehicle travelling upon a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at that time and place shall, where practicable, be driven in the right-hand lane then available for traffic or as close as practicable to the right hand curb or edge of the roadway. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 147 (1).

It appears the cabbie was right, although "or as close as practicable" is a little ambiguous. Any Canadians know for sure who was in the wrong here? I hate to think that I've been breaking the law this whole time by taking up the right lane, it is really much safer in my opinion the majority of the time.
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Old 09-07-05, 10:44 AM   #2
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"although "or as close as practicable" is a little ambiguous... "

Sure it is, but that both gives you the right to be there, and sadly gives a judge the excuse to fine you.

Of course with the vehicle in the way, and the potential for dooring, you were in the right, and over to the right "as close as practicable," but then judges et. al. fail to understand doorings or other road hazards that cyclists face.

This is why I have long been a fan of signs that indicate that "cyclist may take the full lane."



Of course I don't know how your fellow Canadians feel about this...
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Old 09-07-05, 10:46 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maverick_21
147. (1) Any vehicle travelling upon a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at that time and place shall, where practicable, be driven in the right-hand lane then available for traffic or as close as practicable to the right hand curb or edge of the roadway. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 147 (1).

It appears the cabbie was right, although "or as close as practicable" is a little ambiguous. Any Canadians know for sure who was in the wrong here? I hate to think that I've been breaking the law this whole time by taking up the right lane, it is really much safer in my opinion the majority of the time.
Not ambiguous at all, the cyclist makes the call, the passing vehicle must do so safely.
The parked car makes it IMPOSSABLE to travel along the right hand side, therefore it is not practicable.

practicable

adj 1: usable for a specific purpose; "an operable plan"; "a practicable solution" [syn: operable] 2: capable of being done with means at hand and circumstances as they are [syn: feasible, executable, viable, workable]

Operation on Roadway
21202 (a) Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at that time shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except under any of the following situations:
(1) When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction.
(2) When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.
(3) When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions (including, but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards, or substandard width lanes) that make it unsafe to continue along the right hand curb or edge, subject to the provisions of Section 21656. For purposes of this section, a "substandard width lane" is a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.
(4) when approaching a place where a right turn is authorized.
(b) Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway or a highway, which highway carries traffic in one direction only and has two or more marked traffic lanes, may ride as near the left-hand curb or edge of that roadway as practicable.
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Old 09-07-05, 10:55 AM   #4
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I personally don't find it practicable to hug the curb at any time because drivers continually buzz past me, and I'm more visible to motorists, although I may inconvience them. So if there had been no parked car then, would it still be my call to take up the lane?
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Old 09-07-05, 10:59 AM   #5
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What should be done, is to ride as close to the curb as possible, but not so close that you swerve in and out to avoid catch basins. That causes a hazzard, and we dont want to do that.
So practicable in this case means riding about 30" or 75cm from the curb. Thats less than a meter, and most curb lanes are in the 4m wide range leaving 2.5m plus for a vehicle to pass, that's enough if you are a competant driver. That is the problem here in Toronto isn't it? There is just not enough competant drivers!!
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Old 09-07-05, 01:14 PM   #6
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I'm not sponsored, so I pay for everything myself. Show me the law that obligates me to run my hand built wheels and kevlar beaded tires through the glass and assorted debris normally found on the roadside for some driver's convenience. Emergency vehicles (fire, police, EMT), absolutely dive for the curb/kerb (funny english spelling), but a regular driver? No Way. I pay taxes, too, you know.
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Old 09-07-05, 03:26 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maverick_21
147. (1) Any vehicle travelling upon a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at that time and place shall, where practicable, be driven in the right-hand lane then available for traffic or as close as practicable to the right hand curb or edge of the roadway. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 147 (1).
Sec. 148 states in part,

Quote:
Bicycles overtaken

(6) Every person on a bicycle or motor assisted bicycle who is overtaken by a vehicle or equestrian travelling at a greater speed shall turn out to the right and allow the vehicle or equestrian to pass and the vehicle or equestrian overtaking shall turn out to the left so far as may be necessary to avoid a collision. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 148 (6).
It sounds to me that, in your situation (parked car ahead), you where riding as close to the rights as "practicable", and the cab driver had the obligation to pass safely. Nothing in the HTA states that a bicycle may not use the whole lane, and it is general precedent that safety trumps all other rules.

The Cycling Skills brochure from the MTO affirms your actions, see sections "Where do you Ride?" and "Riding Around Parked Cars"
http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/pub...ls.htm#traffic

The City of Ottawa's cycling giude states somthing similar, and gives examples of times when you should take the lane: http://city.ottawa.on.ca/city_servic.../cy_1_en.shtml

BAck to your post: we're taking about a cab driver! They think they own the road anyway, and would probably find a reason to the Her Majesty she didn't have a riode to be on the road.
[QUOTE]
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Old 09-07-05, 04:04 PM   #8
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It's not practical to ride any closer than 1m from the curb. Even the freakin city of Hamilton advocates taking an entire lane on their bike maps.
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Old 09-07-05, 05:04 PM   #9
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Thanks Patc those links were really helpful. One meter from the curb is usually where I feel safest on the road, good to know that such an action is not universally scorned.
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Old 09-07-05, 08:36 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maverick_21
147. (1) Any vehicle travelling upon a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at that time and place shall, where practicable, be driven in the right-hand lane then available for traffic or as close as practicable to the right hand curb or edge of the roadway. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 147 (1).
I don't think the operable word here is "practicable," it's "or." As in "the right-hand lane then available for traffic OR as close as practicable to the right hand curb." As long as you're in the right-hand lane, you're good. Only if you're not in the RH lane do you have to justify why it is not "practicable" to be there.

Section 148 sounds a little more troubling, the requirement to pull over for faster traffic. I'd like to see it in its entirety to see if it applies to multi-lane roadways, and what the exceptions are.
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Old 09-08-05, 09:44 AM   #11
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The City of Windsor, Ontario has a cycling web site. On their "Rules of the Road" page, they advocate riding down the centre of the lane when the roadway is too narrow for other vehicles to pass safely.

"When a road is too narrow for cars and bikes to ride safely, bicycles should ride in or near the center of the lane."

http://www.cyclewindsor.ca/bike_rules.htm
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Old 09-08-05, 10:16 AM   #12
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The actions of cab drivers in Toronto are pretty much just random. No significance can be derived from their comments or actions. Were you to ride in some other fashion, I'm sure they'd find a way to endanger you anyways.
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Old 09-08-05, 10:26 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCCommuter
Section 148 sounds a little more troubling, the requirement to pull over for faster traffic. I'd like to see it in its entirety to see if it applies to multi-lane roadways, and what the exceptions are.
The section can be found at http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/DBLaws/Statutes/French/90h08_f.htm#148.(1)
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Old 09-08-05, 10:26 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad M
It's not practical to ride any closer than 1m from the curb. Even the freakin city of Hamilton advocates taking an entire lane on their bike maps.
Nice use of italics, man! I really felt that. Ooh, the derision.

But hey, enjoyed watching your team kick Argo butt last week. What a great game.
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Old 09-08-05, 02:49 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patc
The section can be found at http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/DBLaws/Statutes/French/90h08_f.htm#148.(1)

Reading the surrounding sections puts it into context:
Quote:
Passing meeting vehicles

148. (1) Every person in charge of a vehicle on a highway meeting another vehicle shall turn out to the right from the centre of the roadway, allowing the other vehicle one-half of the roadway free. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 148 (1).

Vehicles or equestrians overtaken

(2) Every person in charge of a vehicle or on horseback on a highway who is overtaken by a vehicle or equestrian travelling at a greater speed shall turn out to the right and allow the overtaking vehicle or equestrian to pass. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 148 (2).


Vehicles meeting bicycles

(4) Every person in charge of a vehicle on a highway meeting a person travelling on a bicycle shall allow the cyclist sufficient room on the roadway to pass. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 148 (4).

Vehicles or equestrians overtaking others

(5) Every person in charge of a vehicle or on horseback on a highway who is overtaking another vehicle or equestrian shall turn out to the left so far as may be necessary to avoid a collision with the vehicle or equestrian overtaken, and the person overtaken is not required to leave more than one-half of the roadway free. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 148 (5).

Bicycles overtaken

(6) Every person on a bicycle or motor assisted bicycle who is overtaken by a vehicle or equestrian travelling at a greater speed shall turn out to the right and allow the vehicle or equestrian to pass and the vehicle or equestrian overtaking shall turn out to the left so far as may be necessary to avoid a collision. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 148 (6).
Every vehicle being passed has the obligation to "turn out to the right"; bicycles just get their own code section because they were left out of the original section, section 2. I don't see any special duty on the part of cyclists to get out of the way of motor vehicles. I would argue that section 5, "the person overtaken is not required to leave more than one-half of the roadway free" is the limit of the duty of cyclists to move over, same as it is for all traffic.


On a tangent, I recently read this article, http://www.cvcbike.org/club/bikelaw.htm, where there is a discussion of the similar law in California, with the comment:
Quote:
As long ago as 1975, the California Statewide Bicycle Committee, created by resolution of the Legislature, considered the law dealing with bicyclists’ physical position on the roadway. The committee found that this law “has caused more confusion and frustration among motorists, bicyclists and law enforcement agencies than any other bicycle section in the California Vehicle Code. It is apparent that interpretation and enforcement of this section by local police agencies is not uniform throughout the state.”
The language of both the California and Ontario laws is derived from the same source, the Model Uniform Traffic Code. The language is tortured, and while it says that bikes have the right to use the right lane, it's worded in such a way that it is very easy on a quick read to conclude that it means exactly the opposite of what it says. I can't help thinking that it might be deliberate -- that legislators were tricked into passing a law that they thought would keep cyclists out of the way of motor vehicles.
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Old 09-08-05, 07:16 PM   #16
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This was a case in British Columbia, but the decision can be used thoughout North America because of the general application of the rules of the road contained in the Motor vehicle Act.

"Regina vs. Balyi", shows that the definition of "practicable" in the Motor Vechile Act depends on circumstances and does not automatically mean hugging the curb.
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Old 09-08-05, 08:55 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by konageezer
Nice use of italics, man! I really felt that. Ooh, the derision.

But hey, enjoyed watching your team kick Argo butt last week. What a great game.
This city has such a huge car hard-on, I hate it. But for some reason I'm buying a house here...

Up until then the CBC strike didn't matter to me, but once they dropped the game...oh man. I wish I could have seen it.
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Old 09-09-05, 09:30 AM   #18
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You might be interested in the relevnt UK rules on this: "The primary riding position [for bicycles & motorbikes] is in the centre of the leftmost [right to you!] moving traffic lane..... Because the primary riding position can cause inconvenience to following drivers, it is reasonable to ride further to the left [right] when this could help others, as long as you own safety is not thereby impaired. At these times you should adopt the secondary riding position, which is about one meter from the left [right] of the moving traffic lane if the road is wide, but no closer than 0.5 meter to the edge of the road."

This seems to be the most sensible and safe practice and thoroughly defensible. As the back of my favourite T-shirt says "I'm not in the way of the traffic - I AM the traffic"

Pete
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Old 09-09-05, 10:29 AM   #19
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Just ignore that stuff, you did perfectly fine.
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Old 09-09-05, 06:50 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad M
This city has such a huge car hard-on, I hate it. But for some reason I'm buying a house here...

Up until then the CBC strike didn't matter to me, but once they dropped the game...oh man. I wish I could have seen it.

Nice to know there are other Hamiltonians on this board! It's true what you say about how this town loves it's cars. Its true. Lookit the redhill expressway extension. Just ruinous for the best place for mountain biking in the city of Hamilton. Also, they redesigned the outdoor art gallery that was just perfect for trials riding and skateboarding across the street from city hall there. Those two reason are the main reasons my Mountain/Urban Assault bike has been hanging on the wall of my garage for about two years. She ain't happy.

Oh well, see you on the road.
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Old 09-13-05, 10:17 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by konageezer
But hey, enjoyed watching your team kick Argo butt last week. What a great game.
Gah! At least the rematch settled the score.

I used to live in Brampton, and bought a bike for commuting down there. Unfortunately, Brampton is a transportation hub, and every road seemed to have transport after transport squeezing me out of my lane. I gave it up right quick.

I can't imagine anything in Hamilton, with the possible exception of the mountain, being much better.

V
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Old 09-17-05, 12:00 PM   #22
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I kinda combine these two codes from CA and UK:

Quote:
Originally Posted by scarry
Operation on Roadway
21202 (a) Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at that time shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except under any of the following situations:

(3) When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions (including, but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards, or substandard width lanes) that make it unsafe to continue along the right hand curb or edge, subject to the provisions of Section 21656. For purposes of this section, a "substandard width lane" is a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmilne
You might be interested in the relevnt UK rules on this: "The primary riding position [for bicycles & motorbikes] is in the centre of the leftmost [right to you!] moving traffic lane..... Because the primary riding position can cause inconvenience to following drivers, it is reasonable to ride further to the left [right] when this could help others, as long as you own safety is not thereby impaired. At these times you should adopt the secondary riding position, which is about one meter from the left [right] of the moving traffic lane if the road is wide, but no closer than 0.5 meter to the edge of the road."

This seems to be the most sensible and safe practice and thoroughly defensible. As the back of my favourite T-shirt says "I'm not in the way of the traffic - I AM the traffic"

Pete
I'll usually ride between 0.5-1.0m from the kerb when it allows me and cars to fit in the same lane. However, if the lane is too narrow to allow that, I'll take up the whole lane by riding in the middle of it to prevent people from trying to squeeze past (dangerous because they can contact me or oncoming traffic). But for the most part, I don't see any need to ride further than 1m from the kerb.

The big issue I see is multi-use shoulders marked by a solid wide line. This can be used as a breakdown lane for cars. It can be used by bicyclist and it can be used for parking. There are stretches on PCH where the shoulder is completely filled by parked cars, tourists, surfers, etc. That puts me into the traffic lane to stay 1m away from the parked cars and their doors. Really scary as there's traffic coming from the rear at 70mph!

I've been to places that mark a dedicated lane for bikes in between the normal roadway lanes for traffic and the shoulder. This little 1m wide strip in between is about perfect. It keeps the cars away and you have enough room to avoid parked cars.
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