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Behind-the-Wheel

There are rules about parking, stopping and even standing vehicles

Park, stop or stand

Parking, stopping or standing, what's the difference and why is it important to you as a driver? Recognizing these road signs and knowing what is allowed and what isn't with regard to these three situations can mean the difference between your convenience and being ticketed and towed for ignoring or mistaking them.

Let's start with the simplest of the three concepts, stopping. To state the obvious, when your vehicle ceases to move, you are stopped. The term is defined in Section 119 of the Motor Vehicle Act:

"stop" or "stand" means,

(b) when prohibited, the stopping or standing of a vehicle, whether occupied or not, except when necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic or to comply with the directions of a peace officer or traffic control device;

If this road sign is posted and your wheels quit turning, you're in violation of the rules that prohibit stopping. This is usually a bylaw ticket, but if you are outside of municipal boundaries police may choose to write a violation ticket instead. There are no penalty points for this but the fine is generally $35. Double parking attracts double the penalty at $70.

Standing is somewhere between stopping and parking. Your vehicle is motionless but someone in control is still inside or around it. It is not a common sign and the violation occurs when everyone walks away.

The penalty for disobeying a No Standing sign is the same as No Stopping.

The last situation to examine is parking, where you get out of your vehicle and walk away for a period of time leaving your vehicle unattended.

It is allowable to stop in a no parking zone for the purposes of loading and unloading as explained in the definiton of park:

"park", when prohibited, means the standing of a vehicle, whether occupied or not, except when standing temporarily for the purpose of and while actually engaged in loading or unloading;

As it is with standing, the ticket penalties are the same as they are for improper stopping.

If it is necessary to avoid conflict with traffic or to comply with the law or the directions of a peace officer or traffic control device, the rules about parking, standing and stopping may be disregarded.

Within a municipality it is more common to deal with stopping, standing and parking under the provisions of bylaws. Municipalities may create bylaws that must be consistent with the Motor Vehicle Act. These bylaws are usually published on the internet.

Arrows may be shown on the bottom of these signs to help you decide where the boundaries of the zone are. If the sign has a single arrow at either the right or left sign, you are looking at the end of the zone that is in effect in the direction of the arrow. If the sign has two arrows, one pointing in each direction, you are somewhere inside the zone.

The current version of the B.C. Manual of Standard Traffic Signs and Pavement Markings consists of 244 pages! It shows examples of both the sign or marking and explains how they look and are used in our province.

In contrast, the chapter on Signs, Signals and Road Markings in the provincial driver's manual Learn to Drive Smart is only 12 pages.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.



More Behind the Wheel articles

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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.

To comment, please email

To learn more, visit DriveSmartBC



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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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