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Saddle-Up Column: Vehicles turning in front of cyclists a hazard

Richmond columnist talks about the dangers of vehicles cutting off cyclists at intersections.
Geordie McGillivray (Saddle up)
Richmond resident Geordie McGillivray writes about different aspects of cycling.

I recently moved within Richmond, and while I love my new area, I’ve had to adjust to a new daily commute on my bike which brings me to what I want to talk about today -- motorists that turn right from the centre lane of the road.

Let’s concentrate on Granville Avenue between Garden City and Gilbert roads. As the bike lane is a designated lane of travel, let’s consider the bike lane the right-hand lane, the right-hand car lane is the centre lane, and the left car lane is the left lane.

I don’t know what’s happening that so many drivers feel the need to pass a cyclist on the left, and immediately turn right, from their lane, crossing in front of the cyclist and into a driveway or down a street. I have been shocked to see this happen to me almost daily along this stretch of road. It’s obvious that many motorists are incapable of judging the speed of cyclists and how much room they need to safely pass, signal, then get into the right turn lane and make their turn.

Do motorists not see that every bike lane, when there is a right-hand turn onto another street - the solid white line becomes dotted? That’s not just decoration. That’s for the motorists to enter the cycling lane safely ahead of a cyclist and make their turn.

But almost every day whether it’s vehicles on Granville Avenue turning onto No. 3 Road, Minoru, or even at the Petro Canada gas station or Value Village, people turn across an entire lane, cutting off whoever is there. Hint, it’s usually me. And you know they misjudged it because they end up taking the corner way too fast.

As a bonus let me mention the couriers who just park their large trucks on the road, blocking the entire bike lane and half of the car lane instead of pulling into the building’s driveway. It’s tough to say this but I’ve ranted against motorists a fair amount over the years and I actually never knew how bad it was in Richmond until now.

Motorists please, if you need to make a right turn and there is a cyclist in front of you, just take your foot off the gas a little before reaching them, slow down, signal, get behind the cyclist and once they are through the intersection or have turned themselves, make your turn and be on your way.

It just seems so obvious to me, but then, I always laugh when I see signs that tell drivers how to merge into a single lane. Like a zipper. Not everyone mashing in together. So please stop turning right in front of cyclists - literally. We want to get home to our families too.