A new MVA in British Columbia

Here's what a new MVA would mean to car drivers in North Vancouver as they speed down the Mount Seymour Parkway. Cars will need to move over a lot.

 ยท 2 min read
 ยท Andy McKay

The BC Government has proposed a change to the Motor Vehicle Act, an act that was created 66 years ago, had a minor update over 25 years ago. It's woefully out of date and is one of the most regressive legal frameworks in North America - if you aren't in a car. I wrote about how we need to reform the MVA here.

The new MVA is outlined here and has to go through the BC Parliament before coming law. I was interested in this change:

"A driver of a motor vehicle must not cause or permit the motor vehicle to pass a person referred to in subsection (2) unless... (a) the action can be taken safely, and ... a minimum distance of 1 m


So that means car drivers will need to leave 1m space for cyclists. A local road is the Mount Seymour Parkway 1 has a painted bike lane and two or more lanes of traffic going past at 60km/h. I went and measured the bike lane today to see the effects. The bike lane varies from a maximum of 1.5 metres wide at it's best to 0.8 meters wide at it's narrowest 2

At it's best the lane get's over a metre wide. But then you get parked cars which means you get the dooring zone and need to be on the left of the bike lane.

You know its bad when the template for the painted cycle doesn't fit in the lane. This is on the uphill, where you need it the most.

You might think that's good, but let's bear in mind that a bike is not infinitely narrow. Our e-bike from handle to handle is 0.7 metres wide. So basically a bike will take up the entire bike lane with maybe a few centimetres on either side. Cyclists and car drivers have so little space for error 3

So given a bike takes up most, if not all of the bike lane, that means cars will need to be one metre away from the bike lane. In some places this means that roughly there will need to be a bike lane width space between the cars and the bike lane.

I tried to measure a metre from where the bike would be, it didn't work too well due to cars coming at me fast, but you get the idea:

Unfortunately we know this won't be enforced since there is almost zero automated enforcement in BC.

A positive solution here would be for the District of North Vancouver to actually put some physical barriers concrete between the car and bike lane, it would make life safer and much easier for everyone.

  1. That road is a "designated cycling route" according to Translink and marked as "comfortable for few". 

  2. I'm measuring from the edge of "gutter" where all the drains are, to the side of the paint. As fast as I could before the lights change and cars came barrelling down the road again. 

  3. The speed limit on the Parkway is 60km/h with most going much faster than that. The chance of surviving collision at 50km/h is around 50%