Q&A - Definition of Obstructed Lane Needed.

Q&A ImageI received a traffic violation today under Section 158(1) of the Motor Vehicle Act.

158  (1) The driver of a vehicle must not cause or permit the vehicle to overtake and pass on the right of another vehicle, except

(a) when the vehicle overtaken is making a left turn or its driver has signalled his or her intention to make a left turn,

(b) when on a laned roadway there is one or more than one unobstructed lane on the side of the roadway on which the driver is permitted to drive, or

(c) on a one way street or a highway on which traffic is restricted to one direction of movement, where the roadway is free from obstructions and is of sufficient width for 2 or more lanes of moving vehicles.

I was driving my motorcycle in the middle lane and then moved over to the curb lane and passed 3 cars in the middle lane that were stopped at the light.  There were cars parked in the curb lane, but there was enough room to safely pass these parked vehicles in the curb lane. This practice is known as lane filtering.

I would like to dispute the violation under the exception 158(1)(b).  However, I will need to argue that the lane was unobstructed.  Is there any case law that would help define when a lane is considered "unobstructed".  

Not that affects the violation, but the cars in middle lane were stopped at a red light and I passed in the curb lane at about 5km/h so I think the violation is rediculous.

It appears that the officer thought that you had made an unsafe pass on the right.

For me to provide more assistance, it would be very helpful to know exactly where this took place so that I can look at it on Google Street View.

In reply to by DriveSmartBC

Thanks for your reply.  I am not sure if the officer thought I was sharing the middle lane or driving in the curb lane.  He was hiding in a doorway entrance to the right of the parked cars and ran from behind and jumped in front of my bike as I came up to the stop light so it would be difficult for him to make that determination.  

I was heading north bound on Granville Street, coming up to the intersection at 16th Ave.   Do you think it is worth clarifying with the officer if he thought I was splitting the middle lane? 

In reply to by DoubleClutch

OK, I had a look at the location, it is 3 lanes in each direction between 3:00 pm and 6:00 pm Monday to Friday. Outside of those times it is two lanes for through traffic and parking against the curb. I can't read the signs on the other side, but am assuming that they are appropriate for morning rush hour traffic. Please let me know if I am wrong.

What time of day was it when you received the ticket and what did the no stopping signs say on the right side of the roadway?

I was riding my motorcycle north bound on Granville Street near 16th Ave W.  I came to a stop in the middle lane because the intersection light was red.  I was approximately 5 to 6 cars back from the intersection.  I noticed the curb lane did not have vehicles at the intersection.   I signalled and entered the curb lane.  Approaching the 16th Avenue intersection, the officer appeared from the sidewalk and walked in front of my motorcycle approximately a car length before the intersection.  He said I had 3 counts of passing on the right (I assume because there were 3 parked cars I passed between). 
I believe the officer may have erred in thinking that I was driving in the middle lane.  I believe he was in the Life Lab doorway to the right of the cars parked cars in the curb lane and not able to determine what lane I was in due to his obstructed view.
If the officer observered that I was driving in the curb lane and doesn't not believe that I qualified under exception 158(1)(b) because the lane was obstructed by parked vehicles.  I will argue that the curb lane being should be considered "unobstructed" for purposes of s. 158(1)(b) of the Act if there is sufficient room between parked cars to pass freely.  
Supreme Court Decisions (Jang v. Fisher, 1990 CanLII 2147, Nelson v. Lafarge Canada Inc., 2013 BCSC 1552 (CanLII)), seem to allow for the extrapolation that a curb lane should considered "unobstructed" for the purposes of  s. 158(1)(b). Although I will need to argue that this decision can be extended to motorcyclists (cases refer to bicyclists). 
Does this approach make sense?

Thanks again. It was just after 3pm when I was pulled over. The violation ticket has the time 3:09pm and only took a few minutes to write. So the curb lane should have been clear for rush hour use when i was there but it still had parked vehicles.

This one would be an interesting question to see resolved in traffic court.

"Unobstructed" would be properly defined for court purposes by any recognized Canadian dictionary.

Since it was the time of day when the lane was supposed to be available to you, if you completed the move using space in the curb lane that did not contain parked vehicles for its entirety, I think that there is a good chance that the JJP would acquit.

If you passed by traffic in the lane on your left between it and vehicles parked on the right, I would expect that the JJP would find that the lane was obstructed and that you made an illegal pass on the right.

Should you dispute, it would be very interesting to find out what the verdict was. Please consider updating this thread afterward.

I filed the dispute today.  I update the thread once I know the vedict :-).

The judge said he agreed with the argument that bicyclists have the same rights as motor vehicles and said he had to uphold the Jang v. Fisher ruling.  His ruling was not guilty for the passing on the right infraction.