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

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Old 11-13-2009, 06:37 PM   #1
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Thought on left turn time restrictions

As I understand it, the time restrictions preventing left turns are in place to prevent traffic backing up behind the turning vehicle when the turning vehicle is presented with heavy oncoming traffic.

Waiting in a left turn lane today facing a red light, I noticed several vehicles behind me making the illegal left turn onto a side street. Since there were no oncoming cars, the drivers didn't hold anyone up and, by making the turn, reduced the number of cars waiting to turn at the light.

In general, the people I see making this illegal turn do it when there is no oncoming traffic and as such aren't holding up vehicles behind, the problem that the time restriction is intended to prevent.

Would it not make sense to remove the time restrictions on the turns and replace it with "no left turn when oncoming lanes are occupied", essentially legalizing the move with as little interruption to traffic flow as possible?
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Old 11-13-2009, 09:40 PM   #2
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You could also consider a...."don't stop for the red light if no others vehicles are around...or you can get thru without hitting them". Signs like that are placed as a response to repeated crashes at the site by people doing exactly what those illegally turning cars did.
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Old 11-13-2009, 09:55 PM   #3
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You could also consider a...."don't stop for the red light if no others vehicles are around...or you can get thru without hitting them". Signs like that are placed as a response to repeated crashes at the site by people doing exactly what those illegally turning cars did.
In the case that I was describing, the left turn is permitted at all times other than 4-6PM. From what I can observe, it is restricted so that drivers aren't stuck behind someone trying to turn while the left turn lane ahead sits empty with a green arrow.
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Old 11-14-2009, 09:05 AM   #4
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Could very well be because of that. It could also be that traffic volumes are very high in rush hour (imagine that) and that is when most of the crashes happened because of people cutting across in front of cars going straight thru.
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Old 11-14-2009, 09:28 AM   #5
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Could very well be because of that. It could also be that traffic volumes are very high in rush hour (imagine that) and that is when most of the crashes happened because of people cutting across in front of cars going straight thru.
Could very well be because people are cutting others off. Which is why I don't see it to be unreasonable to allow cars to turn when there are no oncoming cars.

In your experience, how many collisions do you attend where a car has hit another because he has made that turn during the restricted hours?
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Old 11-14-2009, 10:43 AM   #6
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"no left turn when oncoming lanes are occupied" can be pretty gray. Like what zulutango pointed out, increase crash hazard.

Mentality of left turn driver might be "ooh, i think i can make it" ........ *crash*

However, making illegal left turn with clearly no incoming traffic i think it's ok (sort of like speeding 60 in a 50 zone). The left turner isnt holding up traffic and the deed can be done quickly without anybody hurt.
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Old 11-14-2009, 10:49 AM   #7
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I would argue that, in some cases, it can be safer to turn during the restricted hours. If it is legal to make the turn and you have cars backing up behind you, the pressure to go can increase the driver's anxiety and thus cause the driver to make the turn with too little space.

The drivers I have observed making this turn illegally tend to only do it when there are no oncoming cars so they don't get honked at by people behind.
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Old 11-14-2009, 01:06 PM   #8
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Could very well be because people are cutting others off. Which is why I don't see it to be unreasonable to allow cars to turn when there are no oncoming cars.

In your experience, how many collisions do you attend where a car has hit another because he has made that turn during the restricted hours?
I have not worked an area with one of those signs but I have worked the Duncan area where thay had almost 600 crashes in 5 years. The cause was the turning vehicles getting hit.. I was talking to an ambulance crew and tow truck driver on the TCH in the centre of town about just this one night and we watched one happen right in front of us. Combination of people who ignored the yellow and those anticipating the red, coming towards them.
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Old 11-14-2009, 01:08 PM   #9
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Signs like that are placed as a response to repeated crashes at the site by people doing exactly what those illegally turning cars did.
That's the real reason behind the signs? If that's the case then that makes sense why only some streets have the restriction between 3-6pm and others immediately after it doesn't. If the reason was to help traffic flow more smoothly during rush hour then it doesn't exactly help when people can just turn the block after.

e.g. back before Knight and 49th had the no left turn sign, I found myself needing to turn at 49th but couldn't because of the sign. So I turned the block after (51st) and yeah it was not an easy turn and I'm sure this fucked up traffic in the left lane way longer than someone turning at 49th during the green light since the light changes quite fast.
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Old 11-14-2009, 06:20 PM   #10
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e.g. back before Knight and 49th had the no left turn sign, I found myself needing to turn at 49th but couldn't because of the sign. So I turned the block after (51st) and yeah it was not an easy turn and I'm sure this fucked up traffic in the left lane way longer than someone turning at 49th during the green light since the light changes quite fast.
You can call me a bad driver, a coward, or whatever but if making a left turn from a busy street onto another busy street knowing I will screw with traffic, I would much rather make 3 rights and 3 extra blocks.
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Old 11-14-2009, 06:52 PM   #11
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Whoever came up with 4-6pm is an idiot. It should be something like 7am-7pm...

Rush hour doesn't stop at 6pm. And it starts WAY before 4pm...
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Old 11-14-2009, 09:13 PM   #12
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You can call me a bad driver, a coward, or whatever but if making a left turn from a busy street onto another busy street knowing I will screw with traffic, I would much rather make 3 rights and 3 extra blocks.
Coward, or just courteous?

Remember, kids, two wrongs don't make a right, but three rights make a left!

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Whoever came up with 4-6pm is an idiot. It should be something like 7am-7pm...

Rush hour doesn't stop at 6pm. And it starts WAY before 4pm...
I'd expect it would depend at least partially on traffic patterns observed at that intersection. Many DO have all-day (7am-7pm or similar) restrictions, especially in downtown Vancouver.
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Old 11-15-2009, 01:08 AM   #13
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You can call me a bad driver, a coward, or whatever but if making a left turn from a busy street onto another busy street knowing I will screw with traffic, I would much rather make 3 rights and 3 extra blocks.
Actually, a turn from a busy street onto another busy street is easy and doesn't really fuck with traffic because the light changes to red quite fast and at regular intervals. The intersection I was referring to was a turn from a busy street onto a side street. These fuck with traffic because they either don't have a traffic light, or they have a blinking green which takes forever to change.
But you're right sometimes it is better to make 3 rights. Though not always.

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Coward, or just courteous?
Many DO have all-day (7am-7pm or similar) restrictions, especially in downtown Vancouver.
DT vancouver has some of the lamest no left turn signs. Whats with those no left turns Fri-Sun 9pm-2am signs on robson? Nobody follows them, and it makes no difference because it's pretty much 1 lane both directions, and at the intersection there is always room to pass on the right because there is no parking near the intersection.
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Old 11-15-2009, 12:20 PM   #14
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I want no left turns on Granville, Oak, Cambie, and Knight (and many others) when there is not a dedicated left turn lane. Turn right onto the street after and loop back.

People turn left onto 33rd from Granville and Oak during rush hour and this backs up traffic 2-3 blocks sometimes, and causes people to cut out from the left lane into the right lane dangerously without looking or gauging the proper distance.

As for the illegal left turns proposed, I do these often when waiting in a long line at a red light. I'll turn onto the nearest side street and avoid the light.

This is bad cause it puts more traffic on residential side streets, so its not a good solution either.
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Old 11-16-2009, 12:41 AM   #15
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yes only during rush hour, and ban it for the entire stretch of granville/oak/knight etc.

any other time is fine
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Old 11-16-2009, 12:58 AM   #16
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why don't you guys just choose the inside lane instead when you know a heavy left turn intersection's coming up? I mean if it happens everyday, you can clue in and avoid the left lane, right?
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Old 11-16-2009, 02:35 AM   #17
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We're (well at least I am) talking about traffic in general, because left turns do cause huge backups, particularly during rush hour.

It really doesn't bother me because I don't use the left lane 24/7, and when I'm actually in the left lane i know to switch out of it ahead of time when a popular left turn intersection is coming up.
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Old 11-16-2009, 08:09 AM   #18
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why don't you guys just choose the inside lane instead when you know a heavy left turn intersection's coming up? I mean if it happens everyday, you can clue in and avoid the left lane, right?
You still don't win, because all the idiots who got themselves caught behind the left turner are trying to jam themselves into the next lane at the last second. The point of prohibiting the left turns is so ALL the lanes flow smoothly.
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Old 11-16-2009, 10:03 AM   #19
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The point of prohibiting the left turns is so ALL the lanes flow smoothly.
Which is why I suggest lifting the turn restriction if the turn can be made without interruption to said flow.
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Old 11-16-2009, 10:11 AM   #20
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Which is why I suggest lifting the turn restriction if the turn can be made without interruption to said flow.
Yeah, the problem is, "if" can very subjective. YOUR idea of what "isn't interrupting the flow" will be very different from that of the half-dozen cars waiting behind you.
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Old 11-16-2009, 10:15 AM   #21
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Which is why I suggest lifting the turn restriction if the turn can be made without interruption to said flow.
People will not make this judgment, and without increased policing, road rage will ensure as others will make the judgment for them that they are holding up traffic trying to turn.

Better to just make all left turns illegal during rush hour (unless there is a dedicate turn lane). For instance on my way to work this morning there were 3 cars turning left at various side streets from Oak. Instead these cars could have:
1. Turned left at a major intersection with a dedicated left turn lane (16th, 25th, 41st, 49th) prior to this destination. Then they'd just have to turn right and take some side streets to get there.
2. Turned right after the nearest cross street with a light. Loop back to the light, wait, then cross Oak to their destination.

I don't see either of these solutions adding too much traffic to residential side streets, cause most of the left-turn traffic on side streets from Oak is people dropping off their kids, or returning home from dropping off their kids. They need to drive on residential streets to reach their destination, driving down a few more is not going to hurt.
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Old 11-16-2009, 10:16 AM   #22
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why don't you guys just choose the inside lane instead when you know a heavy left turn intersection's coming up? I mean if it happens everyday, you can clue in and avoid the left lane, right?
You should see Knight at 57th. The inside lane stretches for several blocks because no one wants to go into the left lane cause someone might be turning left there.
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Old 11-16-2009, 11:18 AM   #23
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Yeah, the problem is, "if" can very subjective. YOUR idea of what "isn't interrupting the flow" will be very different from that of the half-dozen cars waiting behind you.
Seel, that is my very definition of "interrupting the flow".

No cars either behind you or oncoming = OK to turn
Cars behind or oncoming = NOTOK to turn.

Pretty simple.

As drivers we have to make decisions several times a minute. Why can't I decide to make the turn if there are no cars around?
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Old 11-16-2009, 11:20 AM   #24
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Seel, that is my very definition of "interrupting the flow".

No cars either behind you or oncoming = OK to turn
Cars behind or oncoming = NOTOK to turn.

Pretty simple.

As drivers we have to make decisions several times a minute. Why can't I decide to make the turn if there are no cars around?
Cause we have a post in this forum recently of a kid who drove dangerously, then accelerated to 170 kmph, all while a police cruiser was right behind him.

People canot be trusted to make this decision, or honour it either.
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Old 11-16-2009, 11:29 AM   #25
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Cause we have a post in this forum recently of a kid who drove dangerously, then accelerated to 170 kmph, all while a police cruiser was right behind him.

People canot be trusted to make this decision, or honour it either.
Maybe all of our cars need to be operated centrally by some MOT computer or something, take all the control away from drivers
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