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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 07-26-2011, 02:42 PM   #1
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Left Turn on Red

Wish more people knew this and that more police knew this and handed out tickets for people not turning. I'm usually stuck behind people who wait until the light turns green. I usually honk a couple of times but they'll have no clue so I usually give up. A few times it was a police car. On those occasions I don't honk. The worst time was on Thurlow which has two left turn lanes onto the one way Nelson St. I was in the far left lane. Some jerk in the lane to the right of me (still a left turn lane) cuts me off at the last second and then refuses to turn until the light turns green.

http://www.drivesmartbc.ca/turns/left-turn-red
"Wed, 2006-03-15 01:00 — DriveSmartBC

When I was relatively new to police work I was patrolling behind a car that had stopped at a red light with the left turn signal blinking. The next thing I knew, this car had turned left against the red light! Well, on went the lights and siren and I chased down this alleged red light runner. This would be an easy ticket, or so I thought.

"What do you mean officer?" asked the driver. "I'm allowed to turn left on a red light if I turn onto a one way street!"

I collected his documents and went back to the police car. Out came my copy of the Motor Vehicle Act and I read the section on red lights carefully. This driver was absolutely correct! I gave his documents back and apologized with a face that was likely just as red as that traffic light had been.

My lesson for the day was that in British Columbia, if I was turning left in the proper direction onto a one way street, I could do so after I had stopped at the red light and yielded to traffic as necessary. However, this type of turn may be prohibited by a sign at the intersection and may be prohibited entirely in other jurisdictions.

A great travel reference is the Digest of Motor Laws published by the Canadian Automobile Association. You can pick one up at your local BCAA office and check situations like this one before you travel.
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Old 07-26-2011, 02:50 PM   #2
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I learned about this when I was taking driving lessons for my class 5. When my instructor taught me this for the first time it seemed so bizarre to me. Turning left on a red, onto a one way street!? If you're doing a road test downtown, your examiner can dock you marks for not turning onto a one way street during a red light when the street is clear.

Anyways, good thing to know. I'm sure most drivers out there don't know this.
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Old 07-26-2011, 02:53 PM   #3
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Yeah, unfortunately most people never learn this... don't think this specific scenario is usually covered when learning how to drive.
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Old 07-26-2011, 03:09 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matlock View Post
I learned about this when I was taking driving lessons for my class 5. When my instructor taught me this for the first time it seemed so bizarre to me. Turning left on a red, onto a one way street!? If you're doing a road test downtown, your examiner can dock you marks for not turning onto a one way street during a red light when the street is clear.
That's good. Maybe all the other branches should have routes that pass through downtown. But then again most people won't remember anyways.
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Old 07-26-2011, 03:13 PM   #5
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Yeah, unfortunately most people never learn this... don't think this specific scenario is usually covered when learning how to drive.
It was on my learners test. Mid 90s. But yea it doesn't really affect most people most of the time.
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Old 07-26-2011, 03:29 PM   #6
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For some reason I thought it was only legal from a one way onto a one way, not from a two way onto a one way since you'd still theoretically have to cross a lane of traffic that way?
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Old 07-26-2011, 03:33 PM   #7
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For some reason I thought it was only legal from a one way onto a one way, not from a two way onto a one way since you'd still theoretically have to cross a lane of traffic that way?
I've had that discussion before. Opposing traffic from you would have to run the red. Someone on the one way street could turn left but you're supposed to be watching out for them anyways.

edit
Think about it as when turning, only needing to watch for traffic from one direction from one lane. I think that's the logic behind the rules if there is any.

Last edited by minoru_tanaka; 07-26-2011 at 03:48 PM.
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Old 07-26-2011, 04:57 PM   #8
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Never knew this, but you learn something new everyday. Thanks!
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Old 07-26-2011, 05:16 PM   #9
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We had this discussion a few years back.. probably when Skidmark posted it originally.. I guess five years ago now! (Wow, how time flies..)

I used to drive east on First ave, turn left on the red at the light under the highway all the time... people just stared at me as if I was doing something wrong!! Once in a while someone else would do it (in front of me) but not often enough... a few times I did it in front of a cop, and never had an issue... so they were obviously not 'green'..
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Old 07-26-2011, 06:08 PM   #10
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I knew this and always do this. I thought this was going to be about people not turning left when their wheels were already in the intersection when it turns red!
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Old 07-26-2011, 06:26 PM   #11
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some drivers don't turn Right on a red. whats the deal on that. they wait until it's green for us ...
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Old 07-26-2011, 06:31 PM   #12
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^ some intersections will have signs that does not allow you to turn on right on red.
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Old 07-26-2011, 10:13 PM   #13
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thanks for bringing this up, i didn't know about.
i want to try this and see people's reactions, although i've had to turn left into a one way street..
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Old 07-27-2011, 07:25 AM   #14
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some drivers don't turn Right on a red. whats the deal on that. they wait until it's green for us ...
Either quebecois, retards or retarded quebecois
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Old 07-27-2011, 08:35 AM   #15
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Yep knew about this ever since I started studying for my Learners.
I'm really surprised a lot of people, particularly those who used Roadsense for their L, do not know this. I would think that this rule would be bizarre and surprising enough that most people would remember it. I sure did when I read it. I mean left turn on red? What??

I think anyone who doesn't turn left from a one-way to a one-way on a red when safe should be shot. Period. (Except my gf and family)

If it's a two-way to a one-way then I'm a little more forgiving because it's more dangerous. If you inch forward too far you block cross traffic trying to turn left onto your street. In downtown a lot of the two-way to one-ways are usually turns onto fairly busy streets (like Dunsmuir for instance) so it's almost never safe to turn on a red. But if it's a smaller street like Nelson then yeah definitely make your turn.
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Old 07-27-2011, 08:44 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by minoru_tanaka View Post
Wish more people knew this and that more police knew this and handed out tickets for people not turning. I'm usually stuck behind people who wait until the light turns green. I usually honk a couple of times but they'll have no clue so I usually give up.
The problem I see here is that many left turn lanes are set back from the crosswalk in front of it. If there is a car in the through lane to the right of the vehicle turning left, it can obstruct the turning car's view of cross traffic approaching from the right.

I think if more people knew about this law, there would be more intersection collisions. Remember that drivers aren't trusted to to make safe decisions with regard to their travel speed, do you really want them turning left on red?
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Old 07-27-2011, 09:05 AM   #17
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I can't remember where I learned this, but it always felt weird to turn left at a red light.

Oddly, a lot of the places I've driven do not even allow right turns at a red light. Even a lot of states are like that, AFAIK
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Old 07-27-2011, 11:21 AM   #18
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Yep. I have been turning left on a red for years (onto a one way). I always get into debates with passengers and get weird looks.

Heck my friend who is RCMP on the island even tried to argue it is illegal!
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Old 07-27-2011, 03:08 PM   #19
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I have never herd of this. Tho i think i was shown this in downtown Calgary as there are many one way streets
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Old 07-27-2011, 03:20 PM   #20
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The problem I see here is that many left turn lanes are set back from the crosswalk in front of it.
Yes this does come up. I can think of turning left from Burrard onto Dunsmuir during busy times but when it's that busy, there's a steady stream of pedestrians and line up of cars trying to turn left from dunsmuir onto Burrard. So in that case as with any time that there's a wall of pedestrians blocking you, it is forgivable to not make the turn.

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If there is a car in the through lane to the right of the vehicle turning left, it can obstruct the turning car's view of cross traffic approaching from the right.
The mirror image of this situation happens all the time in right turns.

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I think if more people knew about this law, there would be more intersection collisions. Remember that drivers aren't trusted to to make safe decisions with regard to their travel speed, do you really want them turning left on red?
Are you trying to troll me into your speeding debate?
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Old 07-27-2011, 03:34 PM   #21
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I'm really surprised a lot of people, particularly those who used Roadsense for their L, do not know this. I would think that this rule would be bizarre and surprising enough that most people would remember it. I sure did when I read it. I mean left turn on red? What??
Tells you a bit about how much attention people are paying when other people are driving them that this situation doesn't stand out to them.
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I think anyone who doesn't turn left from a one-way to a one-way on a red when safe should be shot. Period. (Except my gf and family)
Maybe you could teach them?
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If it's a two-way to a one-way then I'm a little more forgiving because it's more dangerous. If you inch forward too far you block cross traffic trying to turn left onto your street. In downtown a lot of the two-way to one-ways are usually turns onto fairly busy streets (like Dunsmuir for instance) so it's almost never safe to turn on a red. But if it's a smaller street like Nelson then yeah definitely make your turn.
Well you always have to check that it's safe first, even on right turns. e.g. turning right at the intersection of Robson and Burrard on a red. But there's some cases where it's totally safe and people don't even try like Dunsmuir onto Thurlow. One the pedestrian traffic passes, the lane you are turning onto is a new lane that starts at that intersection. No one should be in it. But Just about everyday I am stuck behind someone who is not trying to turn and so obviously doesn't even know they are holding up traffic.

Sometimes there will be a car that will see two cars in front of them turn and then when it;s his or her turn just sit there. I hate being stuck behind this clueless asshole.
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Old 07-27-2011, 03:36 PM   #22
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The mirror image of this situation happens all the time in right turns.
The left turn lanes are usually set back so that cars turning left from the cross street to the right don't hit you when they cut the corner.

In order for you to see safely to the right, you need to advance into the area between the stop line and the crosswalk, putting yourself at risk of being hit by someone from the right making a left turn.

When making a right turn, you don't have to worry about the potential for someone to cut the corner and hit you.
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Old 07-27-2011, 03:45 PM   #23
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The left turn lanes are usually set back so that cars turning left from the cross street to the right don't hit you when they cut the corner.

In order for you to see safely to the right, you need to advance into the area between the stop line and the crosswalk, putting yourself at risk of being hit by someone from the right making a left turn.

When making a right turn, you don't have to worry about the potential for someone to cut the corner and hit you.
Sorry I understand that part, I was referring the statement you made in the quote below.

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If there is a car in the through lane to the right of the vehicle turning left, it can obstruct the turning car's view of cross traffic approaching from the right.
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Old 07-27-2011, 05:35 PM   #24
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Either quebecois, retards or retarded quebecois
That's ignorant and unecessary.

Turning right on a red is illegal on the ISLAND of Montreal. AFAIK it's legal everywhere else in Canada.

One is also not obligated to turn right on red, though it is pretty freaking annoying if they are signalling right and don't.
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Old 07-27-2011, 06:24 PM   #25
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That's ignorant and unecessary.

Turning right on a red is illegal on the ISLAND of Montreal. AFAIK it's legal everywhere else in Canada.
It's like you haven't read the thread. How is it ignorant. I acknowledge that you would expect a Quebecois would not know that it is legal to turn right on a red in BC. You would also not expect a retard to know this and well you wouldn't expect a retarded Quebecois to know this. No one else has expressed ignorance of this so maybe your explanation was unnecessary.


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One is also not obligated to turn right on red, though it is pretty freaking annoying if they are signalling right and don't.
If you think that it's ok to hold up traffic when it's safe to go then please stop driving. If you have read the posts in this thread you would have read the not turning when it's safe on a red light will cost you demerits on your driving test.
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