A reader is curious about etiquette when someone has stopped in the traffic lane to back into a parallel parking space. This is an instance that is not specifically covered in the Motor Vehicle Act. In the event of a collision, it may be the fault of either driver depending on the circumstances.
The driver that intends to park should signal to the right in advance of the parking space. Traffic following must not be following closer than is prudent, so there should be room to back up when the driver who is parking stops. Be careful in backing up, because following traffic may not have stopped, or stopped right behind. Move into the parking space, and if there is a curb, you must be within 30 cm. with the right side of the vehicle when you stop.
Vehicles approaching from behind may pass the parking vehicle on the left only if the pass can be made in safety. Beware that the front end of the parking vehicle may swing out when it backs up.
Courtesy and caution will be the best guide in this circumstance. It would be wise to stop and wait if the person in front of you is parallel parking. It costs only seconds and you would appreciate a driver that did the same while you parked!
The author is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. To comment or learn more, please visit www.drivesmartbc.ca.
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Tim Schewe has been writing his column for most of the 20 years in his traffic enforcement service in the RCMP. It was 'The Beat Goes On' in Fort St. John, 'Traffic Tips' in the South Okanagan and now 'Behind the Wheel' on Vancouver Island and now Castanet.net. Schewe retired from the Force in January of 2006, but the column became a habit and continues.
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