As any cyclist who rides on the road knows, vehicles turning left across your path are an issue.
A driver may not use a bike lane except in specified circumstances, and even then the law states:
“You must give way to cyclists already in the bicycle lane. ” https://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/safety-and-road-rules/road-rules/a-to-z-of-road-rules/bicycles This means that any vehicle which passes a cyclist then turns across his or her path is in the wrong.
However, the rules for bicycles also state:
What to do when a vehicle is turning left
Cyclists must not ride on the left sign of a vehicle that is:
- indicating to the left
- turning left at an intersection
Tips for cyclists: if a car is indicating to turn left, ride in the traffic lane behind the turning vehicle. https://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/safety-and-road-rules/road-rules/a-to-z-of-road-rules/bicycles
This leads to ambiguity.
Pedal Power (Canberra’s cyclist advocacy group) have clarified this law where the bike lane is painted green.
stating from a legal opinion:
“Coloured bicycle lanes at intersections are to remind motorists that this section of the roadway is a travel lane for bicycle riders. The marking highlights the existence of the ‘bicycle lane’ to motorists and the ‘right of way’ legally provided to the cyclist by a ‘bicycle lane’. Therefore, where you see a bicycle lane and particularly a green coloured area at an intersection, be on the lookout for cyclists. If a cyclist is in the bicycle lane, motorists must give way.”
As cyclists, we are vulnerable. A small scratch to a car’s duco could be a cyclist death or serious injury. Make your own safety first priority.
- Be seen – wear high vis clothing, and make sure you have lights at night.
- At problem intersections, scan behind for faster turning traffic, especially where there is a slip lane or roundabout.
- Never presume you have been seen – try to make eye contact. Make your intention to cycle through the intersection clear.
- Be prepared to give way, even if technically you know you have ‘right of way’.
Pedal Power ACT has a regular e-newsletter. It’s well worth subscribing. http://www.pedalpower.org.au/