Dear Cop - Left Hand Turns

I'm not sure if this one has been answered before but it seems to be an ongoing debate over here in Westbank. Many people seem to take left hand turns (from a two-way street) onto a one way street during a red light (of course, yielding to right-of-way traffic). Is this legal or should they be waiting for a green light?

It is legal to make a left turn from a two way street onto a one way street on a red light provided that you have come to a complete stop first, you have your left turn indicator on and you have yield to all traffic that is proceeding through on a green light. The same rule applies when making a left turn from a one way street to another one way street. The only time this will not apply is when there is a sign present which prohibits this left turn.

Red light
Section 129 (4) of the Motor Vehicle Act indicates that when a red light alone is exhibited at an intersection by a traffic control signal
b) except when a left turn permitted by this paragraph is prohibited by a sign at the intersection, the driver of a vehicle facing the red light at the intersection of not more than 2 highways, and which in obedience to it is stopped as closely as practicable to a marked crosswalk on the near side of the intersection, or if there is no marked crosswalk, as closely as practicable to the intersection, may cause the vehicle to make a left turn into a highway on which traffic is restricted to the direction in which he or she causes the vehicle to turn, but the driver must yield the right of way to all pedestrians and vehicles lawfully proceeding as directed by the signal at the intersection

Constable R.A.(Richard) ASELTON
Central Okanagan Traffic Services - Media Liaison
Kelowna R.C.M.P. Detachment

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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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