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Questions & info about the Motor Vehicle Act. Mature discussion only.

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Old 03-03-2009, 07:35 PM   #1
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speeding ticket - inadequate signs

I have searched around and cannot find a situation like this.

I was traveling in the left lane of a 4 lane divided expressway, the speed limit was posted at 80k. I passed three slower semi trucks in the right lane and a cop jumped out and pulled me over, said I was speeding at 70k and gave me a ticket for 146(1).

I went back and notice that there was a speed transition zone with signs on the right only and they were completely blocked by the trucks. This was on a designated truck route. I check the BC highways sign regulations and find that the signs do not follow the regs with regards to distance and location. I call the Highways dept and they state that that small section of highway is under the municipal jurisdiction and they do not have to follow the regs. This is the tricky part, they do have jurisdiction on part of the road and the speed signs are on both sides of the road (median). So, as you travel down the road the signage display requirement changes without notice. As the fine $$ now go to the municipality, I believe that this is intentional to extort cash. I have never had a ticket before and would pay it if I were clearly notified of the speed drop zone and disobeyed. To make matters worse for me. I went to make measurements and the some of the signs have been moved due to construction.

Now, I have found research and having trucks, especially three traveling together in the right lane blocks the vision of drivers in the left lane of the road for 1200 m. The solution, place an overhead sign or a sign on the median.

Meanwhile, I have disputed the ticket and can't get anywhere with the municipality regarding sign placement policy which I believe is substandard. How do you create a defense for this. I even tried to take a video of that section with trucks, but there are rarely three trucks in a row right next to you.
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Last edited by 03terminator; 03-03-2009 at 07:45 PM.
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Old 03-03-2009, 08:02 PM   #2
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Where was this? Sounds like Hwy. 5 coming off the Coq. down into Kamloops, or Hwy. 11 in Abbotsford coming down where it turns into Sumas Way...

I'd think even without three trucks in a row, you could prove your point with even one truck in the video.
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Old 03-03-2009, 08:11 PM   #3
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Considering it's an actual trucking route, and a "4 lane divided expressway" and there were only signs on the far far right hand shoulder, I think there is reason to call the police detatchment and ask for the ticket to be cancelled, as well as additional signs to be erected before writing any more speeding tickets in that stretch of highway.

If the officer fails to help you, definately talk to city council and complain politely about the injustice.
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Old 03-03-2009, 08:30 PM   #4
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It is in Burnaby on Marine Way. The East is BC Highways and the West is Burnaby. I called and tried to talk to the traffic manager, but no joy. I'll try to talk to someone else but I don't live in that jurisdiction. The guy that I spoke with at the ministry of Highways says that the municipal jurisdictions have no standards and often send out a low level worker to put up a sign and it just gets placed randomly with no engineering study. The primary goal of the BC highways is standardization of signage and they have strict guidelines for placement, size and distance between signs.

I have since found out that this is a favourite spot for the police. That is why I believe that it is somewhat intentional. I was tagged right at the 50k sign which was blocked by the trucks. I did get one truck in a video and shows the situation well.

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Old 03-03-2009, 08:47 PM   #5
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Fortunately for you, the courts don't answer to the municipal planners...

You're talking about Marine Way westbound just approaching Boundary? It drops to 50 quite a ways back before you hit Boundary, and nobody ever slows down for that. If a video with one truck shows your situation clearly, then it should be easy for a JJP to extrapolate the problem with three trucks.
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Old 03-03-2009, 09:28 PM   #6
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I'm not al all familiar with the location. I need some honest answers in order to give you some honest answers in return..
Questions I have...what is the actual posted limit in the exact location you were observed "speeding"?
What is the last visible posted speed limit sign before that location?
If that one had been blocked by the trucks as you say, what would have been the last posted sign before the "blocked" one?
Were you doing at least 1 kmh over any of the posted limits?
What is the offence description on your ticket?
As 146(1) is speed inside a Municipality, the speed is deemed to be 50 kmh unless otherwise posted and there does not have to be a specific speed sign you pass. The fact that you are inside a Municipality means you cannot legally exceed 50 unless otherwise posted.
Speed limits

146 (1) Subject to this section, a person must not drive or operate a motor vehicle on a highway in a municipality at a greater rate of speed than 50 km/h, and a person must not drive or operate a motor vehicle on a highway outside a municipality at a greater rate of speed than 80 km/h.
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Old 03-03-2009, 10:16 PM   #7
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The speed is 80k for most of Marine Way even through a traffic light. This is were I encountered the trucks, they were pulling from the light as I approached in the left lane, the next sign is 70k ahead and within about 100ft there is a 70 k sign (distance too short and not repeated). There is a 50k ahead and 50k sign all signs on the right on a four lane divided highway. I was caught on laser next to the front most truck as I passed them, intending to pull to the right lane. The signs are there, only on the right, but I could not see any of them due to the trucks. The distance from the legal 80k to the 50k is maybe 900m, I have the measurements noted on another computer. So it took me maybe 1000 m or so to pass and clear all three trucks. The last sign that I saw was 80k. It was a 146(1). The speed where I was tagged was 50 k. I was told that I was doing 70 k. I have searched and not found any defense as I was clearly not avoiding an accident. There must be some adequate conveyance to drivers that the higher speed zone ends. There is also a slight bend to the road which makes the visibility with trucks on the right impossible. There are no signs above or on the left. The speed on the other side in the other direction is 80k. So, I had no indication whatsoever that the speed was reduced. This is a designated truck route and I believe that 3 is the max number of trucks that can travel together. On the Eastern end of Marine Way there are signs on the left and right per Ministry of Highways.

So, I missed four signs as I passed the trucks which were not spaced correctly nor repeated properly, 70k ahead, 70k 50k ahead and 50k. The research that I have shows trucks traveling together to be a common issue for blocking signs on the right and a competent traffic engineer should know this. So, my defense is to bring into question the standards of the traffic engineer. How do you do that in front of a JP.

Here is an abstract of one of the research papers.

http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/con...2252459~db=all


I forgot to add that my wife was with me. So, I do have a witness.

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Old 03-04-2009, 12:30 AM   #8
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I travel that route... well, not regularly now, but I have in the past. The signage has been this way, literally for years, if not over a decade. The distance from the 70 "warning" to the start of the 70 zone is pretty short (almost enough that you couldn't slow down in time without seriously hitting your brakes), and it's not far before the 50 warning, and another very short distance to the start of the 50 zone. And as you note, the road does curve a bit, so even one truck (particularly if it's a B-train) could block it if you were traveling right beside it for any length of time.

For someone unfamiliar with that stretch of road, I can easily see where you'd have a problem, especially with three trucks running down the right lane.
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Old 03-04-2009, 09:15 AM   #9
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The charge is speeding in a municiplaity I believe ( you did not indicate the exact wording)? All that has to be proven is that you were in a municipality and were going more than 1k over to get convicted. If you were charged with speed against Hwy sign 146 (3), it would be easier to dispute.

What you might consider is what kind of indications are there that you are entering the municipality? Were any signs showing this, visible for you to see. If they are, you might be hooped. The law makes speeding an absoloute liablity offence..it's up to you to make sure you do not speed. If there is no indication that a driver going where you did, was entering a municipality (50k zone unless otherwise indicated) then I could see a JP taking this as possible evidence to the contrary. Remember the blocked highway speed signs are not part of the equation IF you were charged with speeding in a municipality. The exact charge on the ticket must be proven.
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Old 03-04-2009, 10:36 AM   #10
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I understand the 50k unless otherwise posted. However, there must be some notice. Otherwise, you could also be given a ticket in between the 80 k signs all along Marine Way. How do you reasonably determine that a speed sign is no longer posted when you can't see the right side of the road. There is no end of highway, entering Burnaby jurisdiction etc, There must be some level of competent communication by the signage jurisdiction. You are actually traveling along Marine Way under Provincial jurisdiction and entering Burnaby jurisdiction without any notification. In addition, the signage standards change. This reminds me of the Man on the Clapham Omnibus or the "reasonable man" test. What would an "average person" do in this scenario. Remember, in traffic engineering it is common and known that trucks block the view and a simple remedy is to place a sign on the left.

I have written to Engineering I'll let you know what they say. However, this is probably a cash cow for them.
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Old 03-04-2009, 10:54 AM   #11
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I gave you my opinion as to what the facts you needed to prove/disprove to defeat the VT. A speed sign on the Hwy has no bearing on a speed in a Municipality charge. What is required to priove this particular charge is that you were "in a municipality" and that there was some way this was indicated by an official sign. In dealing with this charge you must only deal with the specifics involved. Don't keep coming back to "highway speed signs"...you were not charged with speeding against them and they are irrelevent in this charge. If you spend time defending yourself against the wrong charge then you are just wasting your time. A Traffic Court JP should be up on the requirements that Crown needs to prove. Your only legal defence against a speeding in a municipality charge is that there was no indication that you were in one. Prove this and the Crown case has to fail. If I was prosecuting you for speed in a municipality, if you raised the highway signs issue, I would counter with the fact that highway speed limit signs are not part of the charge here.
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Old 03-04-2009, 03:39 PM   #12
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A little more info, there are no signs whatsoever regarding a municipal speed, entering a municipality or the like anywhere on Marine Way. Today, I drove the same route From New West across the Queensborough Bridge and on to Marine Way, the first sign encountered was 80k. What requirement is there to be notified of a max speed unless otherwise posted?
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Old 03-04-2009, 03:59 PM   #13
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What Zulutango is saying is, is there a sign that says "entering new west municipality" etc every city has these signs. if this was before the last 80 k sign. then the municpality is posted at 80k and your previous fight to the blocked sign would be vaild. if this sign is between the last 80k sign, and where you were pulled over (more likly). and you can see the city sign from the left lane. then your blocked speed sign might fail. because at that point you are in a municpality that is otherwise not posted.

if the city sign was before the last 80k sign, that would help your cause, and be very usefull info to use.

although any normal driver is not going to slow to 50 just because he sees a city sign... they'd only be looking for speed limit signs.


I guess by law. if there was an 80k sign, then a km after that a "entering city xxx" sign. the speed limit would drop to 50, even though there is no speed limit change sign. but that would be nasty sign enginnering to not have a speed sign beside or after the city sign I guess. and a nasty cop / judge to give a ticket and make it stick with no speed limit signs.

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Old 03-04-2009, 04:58 PM   #14
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There is no "Entering XXX" sign where he's talking about until AFTER you cross Boundary, where you enter Vancouver. This section is actually on the verge of LEAVING Burnaby, from a long, long 80km/h stretch.

See image below for a map of the area - the traced route is pretty much all 80km/h until you get to the spot noted.

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Old 03-04-2009, 09:34 PM   #15
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You were charged with section 146(1), you were not charged with 146(3). This is similar to a stop sign charge where there are 3 sub sections involved, depending on what you disobeyed. If you got charged for failing to stop at the line, and there was none there, then the charge could not proceed as it was defective. You would bring pictures showing there was no line there. You would not defend the fail to stop for the line with pictures showing that there was no x walk there. The law, specially traffic law, is very specific. An incorrect subsection will vacate the charge. My advice on this is now over. Do as you wish.
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Old 03-04-2009, 10:14 PM   #16
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^Your advice is very confusing.

From what the OP is saying, the municipality has erected signs under 146(6), dictating a higher limit of 80km/h along most of Marine Way. They've then erected further signs lowering the limit to 70, and shortly thereafter to 50. However, by poor design, those signs were not visible to the OP, so he didn't know he was supposed to slow down from the 80 he was legally doing previously.
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Old 03-05-2009, 07:33 AM   #17
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OK, THAT clarifies things a bit more. I wish I was actually familiar with the area. Your defence would be that the speed was not to exceed 50 because it was inside a municipality...unless otherwise posted...BUT because the signs that specifically permitted you to exceed the 50 were obstructed at that specific time so you were proceeding at the last posted sign visible. You will have to take very careful note of any Municipal boundary signs between the last visible posted signs and where you were stopped. They may say that you should have been doing 50 simply because you were in a municipality. You didn't tell us the wording of the actual offence alleged.....and you might consider asking for disclosure to see what they are saying you did and the basis for the charge. That may be of assistance in your perparations so you know exactly what you were charged with.
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Old 03-05-2009, 08:10 AM   #18
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The ticket states "speeding 146(1)". On the route that I took into Burnaby across the Queensborough Bridge (New West) there are no signs indicating that you are in Burnaby or a Municipality or max speed limit within boundaries at all. In fact no such signs all the way down Marine Way to Vancouver. Unless, you are to presume that you are always in a municipality (notified or not) with a "max speed of 50k unless otherwise posted" then I see the defense. Although it is not cut and dry. I have a plan B option. Temporary insanity.

Thanks for the help guys, it helps clear my brain. I'll post the results and be careful along there I've learned that this is a commonly used spot for a speed trap.
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Old 03-05-2009, 08:32 AM   #19
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OK, THAT clarifies things a bit more. I wish I was actually familiar with the area. Your defence would be that the speed was not to exceed 50 because it was inside a municipality...unless otherwise posted...BUT because the signs that specifically permitted you to exceed the 50 were obstructed at that specific time so you were proceeding at the last posted sign visible.
Nope, still not quite right

As you hit Marine Way wesbound at point A on the map, proceeding toward point B, the speed goes to 80, and there are several signs stating that along the way.

What was blocked for the OP, were the signs that tell you to drop to 70 and then to 50... therein lies the problem. Because of poor signage, he was unaware he was supposed to slow down... and the cops like to wait just inside the 50 zone for people who don't do so (which most don't, from my experience).

You're probably familiar with the Island Highway north of Nanaimo... similar situation, where the speed is well-posted at 90km/h for most of it, until you approach an intersection, which if memory serves, has two posted drops to 80 and then 60(?). This is the same idea - plenty of signage permitting the 80... only one set of close-spaced signs as you near Boundary Rd. showing the speed drop.

On the highway, though, there are signs on both sides of your lanes... on Marine Way, there aren't; the only signs are along the right shoulder, where three trucks traveling in a row could easily block them from a driver's view.

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You will have to take very careful note of any Municipal boundary signs between the last visible posted signs and where you were stopped. They may say that you should have been doing 50 simply because you were in a municipality.
Once again, the entire length of his route is within Burnaby; there are plenty of 80km/h speed signs along the route. Nothing changes until you cross Boundary Rd. and enter the City of Vancouver, which is well after the speed drop.
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Old 03-05-2009, 08:55 AM   #20
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My wife says I drive her crazy...and keeps reminding me that it's a short trip! Good luck in your day in court.
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Old 03-05-2009, 12:24 PM   #21
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So, I just drove by there just now. Basically, right after getting off the Queensboro bridge, heading west towards Boundary Rd, there is a sign that indicates that you are entering Burnaby. Right beside that sign, there is a sign indicating you can go 80. Then near the new shopping area there, there's a sign that warns that it's going down to 60, but the one after that which says you have to be at 60 now is so close to it that one semi being beside you will block both those signs. After Byrne Rd, there is a sign saying you can go back to 80 and then before Glenlyon, there is construction and there's a sign warning to go down to 70 and then again, right after that, one that says 70. I can totally see how it can be missed if there's a truck there as there are no signs in the middle at all for people traveling in the left lane to see.
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Old 03-05-2009, 02:24 PM   #22
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I can totally see how it can be missed if there's a truck there as there are no signs in the middle at all for people traveling in the left lane to see.
They choose their speed trap locations very carefully, don't they?
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Old 03-05-2009, 03:21 PM   #23
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TAKE PICS!

its confusing, to the point that i actually travel that area once in a blue moon and am now curious myself.

if im in the area, hopefully i wont get a ticket for pulling over, ill snap some pics. with all the construction in that newwest/burnaby/richmond connector area (burnaby side of queensborough, i find im constantly looking at the road signs to see which lane im suppose to be in now to get to my destination.
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Old 03-05-2009, 03:34 PM   #24
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Well, I got the ticket over 1 year ago and some of the signs have been moved or altered in size, based on my memory. The bridge exit has been redone, as well as, some industrial sections on Marine Way and part of the median have been altered at the far west end. It doesn't change my description of events, but does make it more difficult to prove now. While I have a logical argument, the legal one still escapes me. At best in front of a JP the fine may be reduced but the charge placed on my record. Personally, I don't really care so much about a fine, but refuse to accept to tarnish my clean record. I am considering a charter challenge based on the delay of over 1 year and 1 month for a court date.

Also, I have notified Burnaby, suggested the speed signs be added to the left side per Ministry of Transport standards and requested a response. I realize that their revenue will suffer by adequately notifying drivers of the speed change.
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Old 03-05-2009, 03:40 PM   #25
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you can also argue that they used the oppurtunity of the construction to address the concerns of that part of the highway. if it was difficult for you, then it must have been addressed by other ppl as well, that could be the reason why the made changes to the area during the construction...
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