Carfra Lawton LLP | Victoria BC

Cyclists have a positive duty to avoid collisions

A recent decision by the British Columbia Court of Appeal has confirmed that cyclists have a positive duty to avoid collisions. Ilett v. Buckley 2017 BCCA 257 allowed the appeal of a trial decision in which a turning driver had been found solely at fault.

A cyclist was proceeding northbound on a road shoulder, in what he deemed to be a cycle lane, while the defendant driver was headed south and making a left turn at a largely uncontrolled intersection. The cyclist was scanning traffic but did not slow when entering the intersection. As a result of a large vehicle obstructing vision, the driver began a turn and did not see the approaching cyclist until the vehicle was already into the shoulder. Neither the cyclist or the driver saw each other as they approached the point of collision.

The court noted that the cyclist had a duty to exercise due care and attention and to have reasonable consideration for other persons using the highway. Liability was ultimately apportioned 50-50, on the basis of neither party having exercised the measure of caution necessary to discharge their duty to make a reasonable effort to ensure they could proceed as they intended, and a finding that it was not possible to establish different degrees of fault.

Case summary by Matthew Wehrung