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Old 08-09-2011, 12:05 PM   #1
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Highway merge speed question

Many of the highways here with an 80 or 90kph speed limit have merge lanes that come from a 50kph zone.

As the law is written, you are not permitted to increase your speed until you reach the 80kph sign. In fact, the merge lane still carries the last posted speed limit, often 50kph.

I've known people to get speeding tickets in these merge lanes simply because they haven't yet reached the 80kph sign.

Legally speaking, at which point is one allowed to accelerate to 80kph? Does the yellow "Merge" sign give you the right to exceed the previous speed limit?
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Old 08-09-2011, 12:58 PM   #2
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A speed limit begins where the sign indicating the new higher speed begins and it ends where the sign indicates the beginning of the new lower speed starts. That should be a no-brainer. I'm not personally aware of any on-ramps with a 50k limit that ends as it empties into an 80k zone. Not saying that there are none, just that I have not experienced any. IF one did, then you would be speeding against the 50 k zone signs if you accelerated beyond 50, to 80k, before the 80 zone began. To have a restricted 50 zone speed limit on a ramp that ended with a merge into an 80 zone, would make it difficult to merge smoothly and safely, IMHO.
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Old 08-09-2011, 01:19 PM   #3
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The yellow speed limit signs are just cautionary are they not?
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Old 08-09-2011, 02:00 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by zulutango View Post
A speed limit begins where the sign indicating the new higher speed begins and it ends where the sign indicates the beginning of the new lower speed starts. That should be a no-brainer. I'm not personally aware of any on-ramps with a 50k limit that ends as it empties into an 80k zone. Not saying that there are none, just that I have not experienced any. IF one did, then you would be speeding against the 50 k zone signs if you accelerated beyond 50, to 80k, before the 80 zone began. To have a restricted 50 zone speed limit on a ramp that ended with a merge into an 80 zone, would make it difficult to merge smoothly and safely, IMHO.
You're right, it is a no-brainer. I ask because there are at least two that I know of.

I'll get the camera set back up in the car in a day or two and take a couple of videos - providing I don't get ticketed for accelerating up to highway speed before the 90kph sign
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Old 08-09-2011, 02:22 PM   #5
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In North Vancouver, if you head northbound on Lonsdale until you hit the Hwy 1 eastbound on-ramp, you'll see that once you turn onto the on-ramp there is a 50kph sign and nothing else after until you hit the highway where there's an 80kph sign. The first iono 400 m is just a long stretch of road next to the highway separated by an island until you get closer where it then becomes the actual 'merge lane' separated by painted white lines.

Nowhere does it tell you when you can start disobeying the 50kph sign so everyone just speeds up to highway speeds early on.

This is an interesting discussion and extremely good timing that you posted this question too since I recently came across this situation myself.

Last edited by Oleophobic; 08-09-2011 at 02:28 PM.
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Old 08-09-2011, 02:29 PM   #6
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There's a few of these in the construction zone on HWY 1 going through Coquitlam/Poco just past the bridge.

The really annoying bit is that cause it's a construction zone you're reminded not to speed all over but the path and the signs change daily so you're never sure when and where you can speed up.
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Old 08-09-2011, 03:12 PM   #7
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I forgot about Bing's aerial photos, so this helps


Key:
Yellow lines indicate merge lanes
Green lines indicate 90kph speed limit.

1'st image: Three merge lanes combine into two, all @ 50kph

2nd image: Two freeway lanes @90kph seperated from two 50kph merge lanes by only painted road markings. You can see the arrows in the far right merge lane directing vehicles in that lane to move over into the left merge lane

3rd image: Rightmost merge lane terminates just past the turn around in the median, ironically populated by police cars on speed duty. Speed limit of merge lanes is still 50kph

4th image: Red arrows point to the very first 90kph signs that drivers in the merge lanes are presented with, almost 500 meters after the merge lanes and freeway lanes start to run parallel with eachother. Merge lane terminates approx 200 meters after 90kph speed limit sign.


Not once have I ever seen a driver keep to 50kph until after reaching that 90kph sign.

I figure I have been in this merge lane at least 1,600 times and most drivers have fully merged in excess of 90kph before the far right merge lane has ended (2nd pic).
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Old 08-09-2011, 03:23 PM   #8
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Legally speaking, if a driver was to move out of the merge lane into the freeway lanes before the 90kph sign, is he required to drive at 50kph in the 90kph zone? Remember, he hasn't passed a 90kph sign yet.
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Old 08-09-2011, 03:36 PM   #9
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Here's another one where you have to merge with the 90kph zone @50kph.

Google Maps
-------------

And another:

At this merge lane, you only have a very short section where you are permitted to accelerate from 50kph to 80kph, match pace with an open spot and merge. If you're not already doing 80kph by the 80kph sign, then it will be nearly impossible to merge without running into the concrete barrier.

Unfortunately I regularly see police cars monitoring speed at this merge. They're parked behind the camera watching traffic coming down the merge lane. If traffic is moving at 90kph, then you risk losing your car to excessive speeding for a week. (90kph before the 80kph sign).
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Old 08-09-2011, 04:18 PM   #10
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Here's the north van one I was talking about:

Follow the road all the way down to the highway, there is only a 50ph sign at the beginning and nothing until after you get on the highway

Last edited by Oleophobic; 08-09-2011 at 11:22 PM.
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Old 08-09-2011, 05:16 PM   #11
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I'm not sure of the situation here. Are you saying that there is a 50k sign on the merge lane? If the Hwy you are entering is posted 80k then as soon as you get onto the merge lanes of this Hwy, then I believe that you are now in an 80 zone and not the 50 zone you left on the previous road?

If a ticket has been issued do they list the location as the previous road's 50 zone, or the Hwys 80 zone? The name of the new road should be the determining factor. If you are on the Hwy such and such on-ramp then you can't also be on the Old Street You Left road? To me it seems the yellow merge lanes are on the Trans Canada Hwy but maybe I';m not reading this clearly.
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Old 08-09-2011, 08:23 PM   #12
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Sorry Zulu, who were you talking to in your last post?
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Old 08-09-2011, 09:37 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by sebberry View Post
Sorry Zulu, who were you talking to in your last post?
To the situation in general. I'm not at all familiar with the intersections and I'm adding comments and questions to try to clarify what the legal situation would be for someone who was driving where you indicated.
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Old 08-09-2011, 11:04 PM   #14
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Ok, well let's have a look at the photos in my first post.

Millstream Road crosses the TCH via the overpass. The compass that I've drawn over indicates that Millstream runs North/South.

If you're heading Northbound on Millstream and intend to join the TCH East, you leave Millstream Rd. via the right bend which becomes the merge lane.

Since the last speed limit that the driver has been presented with on Millstream Rd is 50kph, at which point through the right-bend does the limit increase to 90kph? Is that entire merge lane 50kph until the driver reaches the 90kph sign where I indicated it at the red marks?

Here is a link to the interactive map in bird's eye view so you can drag it around and zoom in to see the lane markings: Bing Maps - driving directions, routes, and traffic
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Old 08-09-2011, 11:25 PM   #15
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Yeah I'm not quite understanding where the 80 zone officially begins (both my situation and Sebberry's link). There are no markings or anything that indicate at which point you are officially in the merge lane and should be doing 80. There are definitely no speed limit signs on the merge lane itself unless you count the one right after the right turn.
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Old 08-09-2011, 11:52 PM   #16
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Isn't the speed limit 80 on highways if not posted, and are you not considered on the highway once you are on the merge lane? That's what i always thought
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Old 08-10-2011, 11:44 AM   #17
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I've known people to get xxxxxx tickets in these yyyyyyy simply because they zzzzzzzzzzz.
Of course you have.

You seem to "know someone" to fit any circumstance... you sure hang out with a lot of lawbreakers. Maybe you need to find a better class of friends.
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Old 08-10-2011, 12:00 PM   #18
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Ok, well let's have a look at the photos in my first post.

Millstream Road crosses the TCH via the overpass. The compass that I've drawn over indicates that Millstream runs North/South.

If you're heading Northbound on Millstream and intend to join the TCH East, you leave Millstream Rd. via the right bend which becomes the merge lane.

Since the last speed limit that the driver has been presented with on Millstream Rd is 50kph, at which point through the right-bend does the limit increase to 90kph? Is that entire merge lane 50kph until the driver reaches the 90kph sign where I indicated it at the red marks?

Here is a link to the interactive map in bird's eye view so you can drag it around and zoom in to see the lane markings: Bing Maps - driving directions, routes, and traffic
]I would assume when you leave Millstream and enter the Hwy 1 access ramp you are now no longer on Millstream and are now driving on Hwy 1. The speed on Hwy 1 is 90 k there isn't it? Once you start the right turn off Millstream draw a line along the shoulder of Millstream in an easterly direction and where it crosses the on-ramp you are on Hwy 1 and in the 9 zone. If you followed this line eastwards towards the overpass and dropped right down onto the roadway beneath it, you are on the TCH 90 zone.

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Old 08-10-2011, 02:21 PM   #19
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Sorry, still a bit confused as to where the 50kph zone officially ends and where one may begin to speed up to 90kph.

Ignore the road names, it's not lining up correctly with the picture.

I've drawn a line perpendicular to Millstream Rd. It bisects the onramp at the big red arrow.

Is this the point at which the onramp ceases to be Millstream Rd and becomes HWY1?

Or does the onramp lose the Millstream Rd. designation and assume the HWY1 designation as soon as it begins to curve before the overpass?
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Old 08-10-2011, 02:46 PM   #20
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I would assume Hwy 1 begins with the on-ramp and Millstream Ave ends where you have indicated the #1 or at the very latest, at #2. Are there any speed signs posted on the on-ramp itself for southbound traffic?
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Old 08-10-2011, 02:59 PM   #21
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At the very low-left corner of the photo you can see an intersection. The speed limit drops from 60kph to 50kph prior to this intersection, but there are no speed signs posted after the intersection or anywhere along the on-ramp after #1.
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Old 08-10-2011, 03:53 PM   #22
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Here's another one...

Yellow - Max 60kph
Green - Max 50kph
Red - Max 80kph

For the sake of simplification, let's pretent that the top of the image is North.

Drivers heading South on McKenzie wishing to take the exit around the loop to head East on HWY17 have a maximum 60kph limit.

Drivers heading North on McKenzie wishing to exit right to HWY17 have a 50kph limit.

The 60kph and 50kph lanes merge together before merging onto HWY17.

At the start of the overpass, the "yellow" 60kph zone runs parallel to the 80kph zone, at grade and seperated by a concrete barrier.


Question: Does the existence of the concrete barrier between the 60 and 80kph zones suggest that the yellow lane is NOT YET part of HWY17 and that the maximum speed is still 60kph until after both green and yellow lanes have combined?


I'm not necessarily looking for information specific to this intersection, but a general "rule" as to when the onramp/merge lane officially becomes the highway it is merging on to.

The MVA doesn't list any specifics as to where an on-ramp drops one name and assumes the new name (ie, Where it stops being "McKenzie" and starts being "HWY17").



In the case of this merge, one can be in the yellow or green sections (60 and 50kph limits) running parallel to HWY17's 80kph section and be ticketed for speeding if travelling at 80kph before the 80kph sign.

Yet in the case of the Millstream merge lane, you're suggesting that the 50kph zone ends at the bend and one may begin to accelerate to 90kph well before the 90kph sign.
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Old 08-10-2011, 08:49 PM   #23
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To qoute Monty Python...."my brain hurts!" This is getting far too complicated for the time I have available.

The final question you asked...if there are speeds signs saying you can only do less than the TCH speed on the ramp then you obey them. If there are not and you are on the section of Hwy 1 where 90k is the limit, then you should be able to drive up to 90 kmh. To convict somebody for speeding against Hwy sign you must specify exactly what sign they are speeding against. If there is no 50 or 60 sign and you are on Hwy 1 then you should be permitted to drive that 90k speed. That is my opinion and that, along with about 2 bucks, will get you an XL Timmys double double.
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Old 08-10-2011, 09:15 PM   #24
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To qoute Monty Python...."my brain hurts!" This is getting far too complicated for the time I have available.

The final question you asked...if there are speeds signs saying you can only do less than the TCH speed on the ramp then you obey them. If there are not and you are on the section of Hwy 1 where 90k is the limit, then you should be able to drive up to 90 kmh. To convict somebody for speeding against Hwy sign you must specify exactly what sign they are speeding against. If there is no 50 or 60 sign and you are on Hwy 1 then you should be permitted to drive that 90k speed. That is my opinion and that, along with about 2 bucks, will get you an XL Timmys double double.


I'm just trying to figure out what markings or other road features indicates to the driver that they are no longer on the municipal road and are now on the freeway.

If a 50kph road crosses an 90kph highway at a controlled, at-grade intersection, then the driver of the car turning off the 50kph road onto the 80kph highway turns immediately turns onto an 80kph highway.

When the two roads intersect via an overpass and access from the 50kph road onto the 80kph highway is via a loop or curved on-ramp as in the images I have used, the start of the 80kph highway becomes less clear.

There has to be a specific point at which the on-ramp becomes considered part of the 80kph freeway, because not all have appropriately placed speed limit signs.



Sorry, this is confusing and time consuming. It would take about 3 min to discuss in person. One of these days I'll meet you half way between wherever you and I are and I'll buy you lunch as thanks.
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Old 08-10-2011, 09:39 PM   #25
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I'm just trying to figure out what markings or other road features indicates to the driver that they are no longer on the municipal road and are now on the freeway.

....

There has to be a specific point at which the on-ramp becomes considered part of the 80kph freeway, because not all have appropriately placed speed limit signs.
How about, where the lane lines meet and turn into a broken line separating the merge lane from the highway lane?

See now, that wasn't so hard, was it? Look at what you can accomplish when you apply some logic instead of always looking for something to be "wrong".

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