Lane Sharing – Everything Motorcycle and Bicycle Users Need To Know

Lane sharing is something that is commonly seen on Alberta roads, but is it legal? Riding a motorcycle or bike can be a very liberating experience, with nothing but the wind at your back as you cruise down the highway. A nice leisurely ride can be a wonderful way to escape the burdens of the day-to-day. However, riders often don’t necessarily know all of the rules as they pertain to the operation of their bikes. A common area in which confusion arises is with regards to adjacent riding within the same lane.

What Sort of Situation Are We Looking at With Sharing a Lane?

What we are speaking about when we are talking about sharing a lane is when a rider of a cycle (bicycle or motorcycle) rides adjacent to another rider or a vehicle in the same lane of traffic. This can understandably be rather dangerous given how fast traffic conditions can change. It’s not difficult to imagine a scenario where a slight impact from an adjacent rider/driver sends a rider careening into oncoming traffic heading the opposite direction. This would be a disastrous consequence, even more so when you consider that aside from any protective gear the rider might be wearing, bikes do not offer much in the way of protection. It’s not uncommon for us to see cases where riders have suffered multiple broken bones or head trauma.

Is Lane Sharing Legal for Cyclists?

In Alberta, sharing lanes is governed under the Use of the Highway and Rules of the Road Regulation, particularly by s 78 of the regulation with regards to cycles adjacent to other cycles. This section bars riders from riding adjacent to other cycles in the same lane of traffic unless they are aiming to overtake and pass another cycle. This means unless you are overtaking, riding adjacent to another cyclist will result in having violated the section of the act.

Things are more complicated with regard to riding adjacent to an automobile. The regulation does not appear to indicate anything specific with regards to this. Furthermore, there does not appear to be much caselaw treatment of this. Though as suggested by government direction with regard to cycles sharing a lane with cyclists can be dangerous and drivers should swap lanes to overtake them. It’s likely that the court would find at least partial responsibility on the rider of the cycle if they were the one who maneuvered to be adjacent to the automobile.

What Happens If I Am Injured While Lane Sharing?

In the event, you are injured while lane sharing, depending on the circumstances you may end up with a reduction of any personal injury award you may seek. If you are the cycle that moves up to be adjacent to another cycle you would be in violation of S 78 of the above regulation and thus likely bear at least partial responsibility for any injury that you sustain in the event of an accident. Were you to pull up to be adjacent to an automobile, it is also likely you would be found to have fallen below the standard of conduct to which you would be held and thus likewise see a deduction to some extent from your award.

However, if you were just riding and another cyclist or vehicle pulled up next to you there would be a decent case to be made that you would bear little if any responsibility for any injuries you may sustain, thus any reduction would be lessened or nullified.

More Questions About Lane Sharing? James H. Brown and Associates is Here For You

If you are injured in a lane-sharing accident, call Alberta’s Precedent-Setting Law Firm. James H. Brown & Associates are the heavy hitters of personal injury law, we have decades of experience with our skilled team including with motorcycle accidents. We are eager to fight for you to get you the compensation you need to pay for your necessities of life when you have sustained serious injuries in an accident. Our lawyers are very willing to help you determine if you have a strong case. Call us today for your free consultation! 780-428-0088.

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