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Police Forum Police Head Mod: Skidmark
Questions & info about the Motor Vehicle Act. Mature discussion only.

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Old 06-10-2009, 09:01 PM   #1
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Behind the Wheel - Red Means Stop, but not Always Stay

There is a mid-block pedestrian controlled light in our neighborhood and drivers frequently proceed through it after stopping if no one is in the cross walk. Is this legal?

Ask most drivers in B.C. and they will tell you that when you are facing a red traffic light, you must stop and stay stopped until the light turns green. The exception that may be raised is when you are making a permitted left or right turn and have come to a complete stop first and yielded as necessary.

This is correct if the traffic signal is at an intersection. Section 129(1) MVA says that a driver will stop and remain stopped until the traffic signal instructs the driver to proceed. There are two parts to the rule, stopping and remaining stopped until instructed otherwise. Here in B.C., that instruction would have to be a green signal.

Section 129(5) MVA covers a red light exhibited at a place other than an intersection. In this special case, the driver must stop and a pedestrian may proceed across the highway. There is only one part to this rule, and that is the stop. Once you have stopped and yielded to any pedestrians as necessary, you may proceed, even though the light is still red.

I agree, this seems contrary to what we usually practice and is not mentioned in RoadSense for Drivers or RoadSense for Riders. None the less, if done with care, this is legal and can save time and fuel by reducing the wait. It is also safe because it is not at an intersection and there is no vehicular cross traffic to interfere with.

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Old 06-10-2009, 10:15 PM   #2
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I always thought of it this way...

A red light means two things: One, you must come to a complete stop; two, you may not enter the intersection.

In fact, I think it was you who described it that way on the old ICBC forum, years ago
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Old 06-10-2009, 11:02 PM   #3
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This was mentioned before. I'm just worried that if I do that, an officer who doesn't know this would give me a ticket or someone would report me in so I don't bother, even though I know I can. I'm talking about Rupert skytrain station area.
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Old 06-11-2009, 12:25 AM   #4
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you are talking about the red light just after the train tracks?


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This was mentioned before. I'm just worried that if I do that, an officer who doesn't know this would give me a ticket or someone would report me in so I don't bother, even though I know I can. I'm talking about Rupert skytrain station area.
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Old 06-11-2009, 12:43 AM   #5
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This was mentioned before. I'm just worried that if I do that, an officer who doesn't know this would give me a ticket or someone would report me in so I don't bother, even though I know I can. I'm talking about Rupert skytrain station area.
Ticket, may be not; but definitely more hassle to explain after being pulled over than to wait that few seconds.
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Old 06-11-2009, 09:54 AM   #6
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you are talking about the red light just after the train tracks?

Yes I am. For me, the extra few seconds wait isn't worth the hassle of someone not knowing I'm allowed to proceed after a complete stop and the crosswalk is clear reporting me in.
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Old 06-11-2009, 12:14 PM   #7
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I agree

I think there's no point in trying to exploit this rule because you're probably gonna have to wait at the light just up ahead anyway, plus it really doesn't save much time so you look like a fool rushing through while the light is red only to stop at the light up ahead (take Rupert for instance).

As others have said, you're only gonna get WTF stares and potentially get pulled over by a cop who isn't aware of this.

These rules in general don't save you much time, if any at all.

Turning left on red onto a one-way street, however, sure does
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Old 07-15-2009, 10:13 AM   #8
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I was on the MVA website, now regarding act 131 (1)... On a local hwy we have a pedestrian controlled light. It is for North and southbound traffic. For east and west traffic are both driveways to grocery stores, a low traffic road. Am I still able to drive thru the east/west traffic once I have come to a complete stop?

131 (1) When rapid intermittent flashes of red light are exhibited at an intersection by a traffic control signal,

(a) the driver of a vehicle approaching the intersection and facing the flashes of red light must cause the vehicle to stop before entering the marked crosswalk on the near side of the intersection, or if there is no marked crosswalk then before entering the intersection, and must not cause the vehicle to proceed until it is safe to do so
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Old 07-15-2009, 11:01 AM   #9
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A flashing red is functionally equivalent to a stop sign; once it's safe to proceed, you may do so.
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Old 07-15-2009, 12:02 PM   #10
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there's a light on 41st, close to oakridge.... going eastbound, there's no intersection. it's cuz there's a median in the middle, so there's technically no intersection, just a pedestrian crosswalk. there's an interesection on the westbound side, because there's a sidestreet coming out.

so does this rule apply? not sure if this makes sense...
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Old 07-15-2009, 12:32 PM   #11
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In reference links at the end of the first post is a link to the definition of intersection.
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Old 07-15-2009, 06:38 PM   #12
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this would make more sense with pictures...
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Old 07-16-2009, 01:45 PM   #13
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Ticket, may be not; but definitely more hassle to explain after being pulled over than to wait that few seconds.
It sounds like you are more concerned with what the officer thinks is the law rather than what the actual law is itself.

Go ahead, pull me over. The law says I am allowed to proceed when safe, even if the light is still red.
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Old 07-16-2009, 04:14 PM   #14
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It sounds like you are more concerned with what the officer thinks is the law rather than what the actual law is itself.

Go ahead, pull me over. The law says I am allowed to proceed when safe, even if the light is still red.
Well, the reason why I don't exploit this law is cause there are so many laws and I wouldn't expect every officer to know every little rule. Saves me the hassle of having to go to court to dispute should I run into an officer who doesn't know this regulation.
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Old 07-16-2009, 04:42 PM   #15
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Well, the reason why I don't exploit this law is cause there are so many laws and I wouldn't expect every officer to know every little rule. Saves me the hassle of having to go to court to dispute should I run into an officer who doesn't know this regulation.
I would feel that if an officer is unclear of the regulation, then he shouldn't be enforcing it. Innocent until proven Guilty?

I'd rather dispute it in court where the officer can learn that it is NOT an offense.
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Old 07-16-2009, 09:59 PM   #16
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Well, that's how the officer who gave me ticket for front tinted windows found out that the factory tint that comes with all new cars now is legal. It was a total waste of my time for being ticketed for something because the officer didn't know any better. The good thing is that there is now one more Richmond RCMP Officer who knows that the factory green tint is legal. For me to waste my time and money to go to court because an officer didn't know about Section 129(5) MVA is not worth the extra minute or so I wait at the light, so I'd rather just wait for the light to change to green.
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Old 07-17-2009, 01:56 AM   #17
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^ What kind of car do you drive?

Back to the original topic.. so if it's a 2-way intersection (ie not T or 4-way etc) then you just stop, look, then go?

Can anyone think of an intersection like this in Vancouver? I can only think of 1 in Surrey, and the rest are all around railroad tracks.
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Old 07-17-2009, 11:49 AM   #18
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rupert st by the skytrain station.
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Old 07-17-2009, 12:55 PM   #19
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^ What kind of car do you drive?
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Old 07-17-2009, 12:57 PM   #20
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The other thing which was mentioned in the past, but never got a definitive answer for was what if it's at railroad tracks. Example will be Westminster Hwy in Richmond by Shell Rd. There is a light that is right at the train tracks. And then another one right after the tracks. There's enough room to fit 2 cars between the train tracks and the second light. If you get to the first light and come to a stop, are you allowed to move to the next light if there is no train coming? This traffic light is not the light that tells you a train is coming, there is a separate set of lights for that.
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Old 07-17-2009, 12:58 PM   #21
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Can anyone think of an intersection like this in Vancouver? I can only think of 1 in Surrey, and the rest are all around railroad tracks.
37th and Fraser. It was a cross street before but has now been blocked off as part of the bike route.
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