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Behind-the-Wheel

Dear Cop - Left Against Red Light

I see people turning left from a two way street onto the one way highway, against the red light in Westbank all the time. I have been told that it's legal here. If it is, then why is the white line painted farther back in the left lane than the right, making it impossible to see if there is oncoming traffic? Also, why isn't this legal anywhere else in Canada? I have seen buses, ambulances, police cars, amongst others do this and have seen SEVERAL near misses. People on the highway aren't expecting cars to be coming into the roadway when they have the green, it's very dangerous I think, is it really legal?

It is legal to make a left turn on a red light from a two way street onto a one way street. I believe that British Columbia is the only province that has this law. I can only surmise the stop line is painted so far back at the intersection is to give the vehicles making a left turn off of Highway 97. The onus is on the driver making the left turn to yield to traffic facing the green light. It is the application of the law by the drivers that make is dangerous.

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(one way street) 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.

To comment, please email

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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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