Dear Cop - Turning Left

Is it legal to make a left turn on a green light when the left turn arrow is off, assuming there is no conflicting traffic? Example: Coming out of Rutland on Leathead and tuning left on the highway.

Section 130 (1) of the Motor Vehicle Act indicates that when a green arrow is exhibited at an intersection by a traffic control signal,
(a) the driver of a vehicle facing the green arrow may cause it to enter the intersection and to make only the movement indicated by the green arrow, but must yield the right of way to pedestrians lawfully in the intersection or in an adjacent crosswalk and to other vehicles lawfully in the intersection.

Red light
Section 129 (1) of the Motor Vehicle Act indicates that when a red light alone is exhibited at an intersection by a traffic control signal, the driver of a vehicle approaching the intersection and facing the red light must cause it to stop before entering the marked crosswalk on the near side of the intersection, or if there is no marked crosswalk, before entering the intersection, must not cause the vehicle to proceed until a traffic control signal instructs the driver that he or she is permitted to do so.

When there is a dedicated left turn signal traffic control light that turns yellow to red, then a vehicle indicating a left turn must not proceed until the green arrow is activated. Failure to comply means you have failed to stop for red light at intersection which carries a fine of $167 and 2 points.

Some intersections have left turn green arrow traffic control lights where the arrow will turn yellow indicating left turn vehicle traffic must stop. The yellow light will then turn green in conjunction with through and oncoming traffic. In this instance, it is now the same procedure as a normal intersection without a dedicated left turn arrow. Left turn vehicles may continue to make left turns but must yield to all oncoming traffic, including pedestrians until the left turn may be made safely.

Constable R.A.(Richard) ASELTON
Central Okanagan Traffic Services - Media Liaison

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About the Author

Tim Schewe is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. He has been writing his column for most of the 20 years of his service in the RCMP.

The column was 'The Beat Goes On' in Fort St. John, 'Traffic Tips' in the South Okanagan and now 'Behind the Wheel' on Vancouver Island and here on Castanet.net.

Schewe retired from the force in January of 2006, but the column has become a habit, and continues.

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