Motor Vehicle Act

The Motor Vehicle Act (MVA) contains the laws governing the use of the roads in B.C. The Bike Sense Manual highlights the sections of the MVA specific to cycling.

The BC Cycling Coalition and our partner groups have completed a review of the MVA and submitted a list of proposed improvements reflecting the best practices of progressive jurisdictions to BC Government officials. As part of a comprehensive Cycling Strategy for British Columbia that includes accelerated investment in cycling networks, cyclist and driver education and improved maintenance of cycling infrastructure and roads, the BC Cycling Coalition has made recommendations to the Province to update this legislation.

The purpose of the proposed improvements are to:

  • Provide greater clarity to all road users
  • Acknowledge the fundamental differences between bicycles and motor vehicles
  • Improve the safety of cyclists and other road users while improving the convenience and comfort of cycling
  • Reduce conflicts among cyclists, pedestrians and motorists
  • Provide better legal protection to cyclists and pedestrians in the event of collisions with motor vehicles
  • Enable police to further focus their enforcement efforts efficiently on infractions that are the most likely to result in collisions, injuries and fatalities
  • Conform with the practices taught in CAN-Bike, Streetwise and other bicycle safety courses.

These proposed changes include:

  • Change of name of the act, as it applies to all modes, not just motor vehicles
  • Specify minimum passing distance of 1.5m
  • Legal definitions of bicycle lanes and separated cycling facilities
  • Legalization of bicycle specific signals
  • Allowing riding two abreast 
  • Removal or updated as near to the right clause
  • Enabling cities to create blanket speed limits less than 50 km/h
  • A default speed limit of 30 km/h on local streets 

More information on the proposed changes here.

If you are interested in getting involved, please volunteer

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  • posted about this on Facebook 2017-08-04 09:54:58 -0700
    The rules of the road need updating to make cycling safer and reduce conflicts. Support Motor Vehicle Act changes.
  • posted about this on Facebook 2017-08-03 06:11:52 -0700
    I am a keen and frequent BC cyclist. I feel that cyclists’ rights are severely restricted under the current laws. I support all the proposed changes.
  • commented 2017-02-06 14:04:05 -0800
    One of the oldest mods applied to bicycles is a low displacement engine and those bicycles have always been treated as just a bicycle. Chances are a decent cyclist would win a top speed contest against a motorized bicycle.
  • commented 2017-02-06 13:17:13 -0800
    The rules need to clearly define the status of bikes. vehicles or pedestrian. They cannot be both. If they ride on the road, they are vehicles; so they cannot use crosswalks, zoon through red lights, etc
  • posted about this on Facebook 2017-02-04 14:54:06 -0800
    The rules of the road need updating to make cycling safer and reduce conflicts. Support Motor Vehicle Act changes.
  • commented 2017-01-16 20:41:57 -0800
    The rules have to change. The regulation changes mentioned here are only a first step. Other rules especially in the area of motorized or motor assisted bicycles. An engine of 50cc or less should be allowed. Many disabled people are condemned to a life of begging for rides or being cooped up in their homes. Electric scooters and the electric packages to upgrade bicycles are financially out of a disabled persons reach. We are either relegated to public transport or the three or four wheeled mobility scooters available to us thru the ministry of social services. Many disabled people find these forms of transport degrading but are made to put up with them because thats what’s legally left to them. Personally I don’t think these changes you propose go far enough. But they are a good first step so I will sign and back this important step in the right direction.
  • posted about this on Facebook 2017-01-02 16:54:43 -0800
    The rules of the road need updating to make cycling safer and reduce conflicts. Support Motor Vehicle Act changes.
  • posted about this on Facebook 2017-01-02 16:54:38 -0800
    The rules of the road need updating to make cycling safer and reduce conflicts. Support Motor Vehicle Act changes.
  • posted about this on Facebook 2017-01-02 09:00:24 -0800
    The rules of the road need updating to make cycling safer and reduce conflicts. Support Motor Vehicle Act changes.
  • posted about this on Facebook 2017-01-02 01:22:15 -0800
    The rules of the road need updating to make cycling safer and reduce conflicts. Support Motor Vehicle Act changes.
  • @wrychrd tweeted link to this page. 2017-01-02 01:22:09 -0800
    The rules of the road need updating to make cycling safer and reduce conflicts. Support Motor Vehicle Act changes. http://www.bccc.bc.ca/motor_vehicle_act?recruiter_id=2404
  • posted about this on Facebook 2016-09-02 20:39:49 -0700
    I just signed!
  • commented 2015-07-10 18:51:06 -0700
    It is fundamentally important that the MVA recognize basic differences in the physics involved in cycling versus those required for driving. Here are a few: 1. individual cyclists take up less physical space than motor vehicles, meaning they can both pass on the right and left of cars, and be passed on the right and left; this also implies that as long as it is safe to do so, there is no physical reason why cyclists should not advance at three-way stops ahead of vehicles, and be allowed rolling right-hand turns at stops as long as they stay as close to the right as is safe to do; 2. cyclists often require both hands to brake, and to accelerate from standing — this means it is not always practical to signal effectively; cyclists’ momentum on steep downhills, particularly in wet conditions, often makes it nearly impossible to stop, and rolling right hand turns should be allowed; 3. cyclists come in all ranges of abilities — some can only maintain 10km/h, while pro or quasi pro cyclists can frequently travel as fast as motor vehicles on city roads — motorists should be trained to recognize the differences in the speeds of cyclists; 4. cyclists travel in groups not only for social reasons but also for energy savings benefits of drafting; this means that cyclists frequently change positions from front to back — not only should cycling two-abreast should be allowed, particularly on rural and less-travelled arteries, but groups of cyclists within a group should be considered a single unit, like a semi-truck – the first cyclist is the head of the group and like the front bumper of the truck, and the last in the group is like the rear bumper — this consideration should apply when groups are proceeding through yellow lights. This also means there should be recognition for the fluid nature of cycling group; i.e. that when cyclists change positions they are sometimes more than two-abreast. Overall, the MVA must be very clear that the sheer realities of physics mean that the laws SHOULD NOT be the same for cyclists and motor vehicle. There is a common belief that the laws apply and ought to apply equally to cyclists and motorists — this is dangerous, and simply unfounded in light of the differences in physical realities between motor vehicles and cyclists.

    Hugh Trenchard
    Victoria BC
  • posted about this on Facebook 2015-06-04 20:59:14 -0700
    Motor Vehicle Act
  • commented 2015-06-04 12:54:29 -0700
    When I was away cycle camping this past weekend, I attached quite a few people who wanted to ride bikes who had no idea of what the laws are, how bike lanes and cars work together, what does the green mean, etc. One lady said when she got her license over 20 years ago, bikes weren’t on the test and now they’re everywhere and she didn’t want to hit anybody and that the laws should be clearer for both drivers and people on bikes too.

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I call upon the Government of BC to enable everyone in BC to cycle & walk in safety as part of their daily lives by implementing an Active Transportation Strategy that includes:

  • Investing $1 billion over the next ten years to:
    • Upgrade cycling & walking facilities on provincial roads & bridges
    • Complete cycling & walking networks in communities across BC
    • Provide safe routes to school for children
    • Build trails & routes for cycling & walking tourism
  • Ensuring that paths & protected bike lanes can be safely shared by people using wheelchairs, skateboards & in-line skates
  • Enhancing cycling education for children & adults
  • Promoting cycling & walking
  • Encouraging electric bike use by eliminating the PST & providing rebates
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