Painted Traffic Islands

painted traffic Island Would you write an article on painted traffic islands? As I pass an island with my left turn signal on, someone behind me will often drive across the island, attemping to pass me and turn at the same intersection. I have seen professional drivers do this as well.

Perhaps the reason that these drivers ignore the painted island is that the lines do nothing to physically prevent them from driving on it. I suspect that they see it as just another area of open pavement that no one else is occupying at the time and they can use it to their advantage. A raised island may damage their vehicle so it is treated with more respect.

Chapter three of the ICBC manual Learn to Drive Smart presents a graphic of a painted traffic island and tells drivers that they must keep to the right and not drive on or over it. A painted traffic island is really a special case of a double solid line. The diagonals between the two parallel solid lines serve to indicate to the driver that they are related to each other and not to treat them as a single solid line.

In British Columbia a double solid line means that you must drive to the right of it only, except when entering or leaving the highway as long as other drivers are not unreasonably affected by the movement. This is also a good illustration of the fact that a defensive driver needs to be aware of what is going on around them at all times. If this driver was not watching what was going on behind him on the traffic island there is the possibility that a collision would occur.

Just because the other driver isn't supposed to doesn't mean that they won't!

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In BC, as with many other provinces, the painted islands get crossed.  It is illegal to do so according to the motor vehicle act yet drivers are never ticketed and this leads to the perception that it is okay to do so.  On a road test if a driver crossed the painted Island we considered it a "dangerous action" and they failed immediately!

The term professional driver means nothing these days.  Immigration is a wonderful thing until the driving habits they bring with them affect don't get me immigrants are not just the ones who do this but a greatly increasing number of our "Professional drivers" are drivers with less than 3 to 8 years of experience driving here.  How do I know that....I tested higher class persons for many years and can honestly state that 90% of all new class 1, 2, 3 and 4 drivers are new immigrants.  If you really look the taxi, long haul trucks and gravel trucks are being taken over by new immigrants.  Am I a racist?  No.  A realist....and besides I made many new friends within the immigrant population and my kids are mixed race.  Facts are facts.  The next time you see a trucker yapping on the cell phone while turning a corner take a good look and tell me who is driving!

We need tougher driving laws and standards coupled with stiffer enforcing and penalties to overcome this.

On a road test if a driver crossed the painted Island we considered it a "dangerous action" and they failed immediately!

Actually, driving over a painted island should be marked as a Violation (it would only be a Dangerous Action if other road users were adversely affected).

Unfortunately, training for Training Assessment Officers was much less thorough and complete than for ICBC Driver Examiners - and even then, many of these TAO's weren't sufficiently familiar with the Assessment Procedures Manual. 


Separately, and more on topic for this thread, it's great to see that most traffic engineers these days don't waste roadway space with big painted islands (whose only purpose is to prevent through traffic from inadvertently ending up in the left-turn lane). They do this by getting rid of all that unneccessary yellow paint, and instead initiating the left-turn lane much earlier with a longer broken white line.

This provides much more clever accommodation of vehicles waiting at the intersection, enabling better flow. Which is what makes traffic engineers - and everybody else - much happier!