BC Court acknowledges power imbalance between car and bike in road rage incident

By: Patrick Brown

In Davies v. Elston, 2014 BCSC 2435 (CanLII) the defendant motorist overheard two passing cyclists commenting on the danger presented by the outstretched mirrors of his truck, which was parked to the right of a designated bike lane.  Annoyed, he got in his truck and chased the cyclists. A verbal altercation broke out and one of the cyclists fell and broke his hip.

Despite the fact that there was no contact between the car and the cyclists, the motorist was found to be entirely at fault for the cyclist’s injuries.  Justice Griffin wisely states in the decision:

“No matter how aggravating a cyclist’s behavior might be, and I find there was nothing aggravating about the Davies’ conduct, a driver of a motor vehicle can never be justified in deliberately using a motor vehicle to confront a cyclist who is riding a bike… It has to be remembered that motor vehicles have four wheels, automatic brakes, seatbelts and the driver is nicely encased in a heavy steel cage and that a person on a bicycle is not in a situation which is the least bit comparable, even if going the same speed as a vehicle. A cyclist cannot stop on a dime, is vulnerable to losing balance, and can be seriously injured or killed if he or she makes contact with a motor vehicle or falls at a high speed.”

Patrick Brown


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