More Questions than Answers on Dedicated Bike Lanes
Prince George, B.C.- The City of Prince George has approved a plan to create designated bicycle lanes in the city but while the focus has been on the removal of parking from those roads, there has been little discussion on who will be allowed to use the new dedicated lanes.
Under the City’s current bylaws, being illegally parked carries a fine of $25 dollars and there is always the potential for a vehicle to be towed. But once the roadways which will have a dedicated bike lane have been cleared of cars, what are the rules and possible penalties for anyone other than a bicycle rider using the lane?
There are any number of modes of transportation which might consider using the new lanes, including motorized scooters, skateboarders, roller skaters, and the occasional use by motorcyclists or drivers of small vehicles who want to skirt a long line of traffic or get around a vehicle that is waiting to turn left.
At this time, the City has not developed a specific bylaw that would detail who can use the dedicated lane, or what the penalties might be for unauthorized use.
It is unlikely bylaw enforcement officers would be called upon to stop non authorized users and issue a ticket, so it would be left to the RCMP to enforce the rules under the Motor Vehicle Act.
BC’s Motor Vehicle Act seems to offer only two possibilities for ticketing someone who is using the lane, but shouldn’t be.
Section 151 (b) states: “A driver who is driving a vehicle on a laned roadway must not drive it from one lane to another if that action necessitates crossing a solid line”
So, being in the lane is not the infraction, crossing a solid line to get into the lane could result in a ticket.
Then there is Section 153.2 which states “If a highway has a designated use lane, a person must not drive, operate, stand or park a motor vehicle in that lane except as authorized by a regulation under section 209.1 or a bylaw or resolution of the council of a municipality under section 124.2.”
The only problem with that section is that it refers to “highway” not “roadway” so once again, there is a grey area.
The designated bike lane signage and lane markings are expected to be in place this summer in Prince George. The City has committed to a grace period and an education campaign to make drivers aware of the changes.