Parking on the Shoulder

image of vehicles parking on shoulder of the roadIn light of a number of somewhat recent accidents involving vehicles (buses) rear-ending other vehicles (trucks) parked on the side of the road perhaps you could address the rules that apply to parking on the shoulder. In addition I am curious about the flagging or flares required to warn drivers of these parked vehicles.

This reader raises two good points of discussion because of the dangers involved.

Definition of Business and Residential Districts

Let's start with a couple of definitions that will apply to some situations:

"business district" means the territory contiguous to a portion of a highway having a length of 200 m along which there are buildings used for business, industrial or public purposes occupying

(a) at least 100 m of frontage on one side of that portion, or

(b) at least 100 m collectively on both sides of that portion,

"residence district" means the territory continuous to a portion of a highway having a length of 100 m along which there are buildings used for residence purposes only or for residence and business purposes occupying

(a) at least 50 m of frontage on one side of that portion, or

(b) at least 50 m collectively on both sides of that portion,

Parking in Rural Areas

When you are parking in an area that is not business or residential, you must not park on the roadway if it is practical not to. This means that you must be entirely to the right of the solid white edge line, or off of the pavement if there is no solid white line painted at the right edge.

Beware, because between the shoulder and the adjacent property lines is the boulevard, and one is not allowed to stop, stand or park on it either.

Parking in Residential or Business Areas

In a residential or business area, you are allowed to park on the roadway, but you must not obstruct the free movement of traffic by doing so.

When you do park, you must be on the right hand side of the highway with your right side wheels parallel to the curb or road edge, and must be no further than 30 cm away from the curb.

The vehicle must be locked or secured against theft when it is not occupied.

Municipal Bylaws

Municipalities are allowed to regulate parking through a bylaw, so there may be additions to these rules from the Motor Vehicle Act. Each municipality may also be slightly different, so one must check with bylaw enforcement for the area you are in to be sure.

Vehicles Over 2.3m in Width

Commercial vehicles and motorhomes over 2.3 metres in width must carry breakdown warning devices and place them behind the vehicle during the time that they are broken down on the highway. It is not necessary if the vehicle is not disabled.

If these vehicles are parked legally, it concerns me that drivers are colliding with them. It is likely a good indication that those drivers are not paying attention or staying in their lane.

Learn More

Share This Article

In Mission, we have a Traffic Regulation Bylaw that has this definition:

"Walking Strip" - means the lateral widening of the paved roadway and delineated by a white line to the right of the travel lane, as improved for pedestrians, cyclists, or equestrians.

So my questions  is what's the difference between a paved shoulder, which you admit you can park to the right of the white line, and a walking strip? Or, more clearly, how can the public tell if it's just a paved shoulder, or an improved area for pedestrians? What is "widening of the paved roadway" and is that the same as a paved shoulder?

The shoulder is not defined in the MVA, so what is a shoulder?

What the Mission bylaw describes as a Walking Strip is the equivalent to the paved shoulder of the highway for the Motor Vehicle Act.

The bylaw has chosen not to define the term shoulder either.

When that happens in law, either other similar legislation such as the Transportation Act can be referred to for a definition. Failing that, then the dictionary definition will satisfy the courts.

In the case of the Motor Vehicle Act, the shoulder is the improved portion to the right of the roadway but within the highway boundary. Of course, in the case of a divided highway, there could also be a shoulder to the left of the roadway. It is not necessary to be paved to be a shoulder.

8.02 of the bylaw says the following:

A person shall not stop, stand or Park any part of a vehicle:

(b) on or cause to overhang any portion of a sidewalk, Walking Strip, Boulevard, or within a corridor designated by a Traffic Control Device for the use of cyclists, pedestrians, or equestrians;

In section 124 of the Motor Vehicle Act municipalities are given the power to regulate, control or prohibit the stopping, standing or parking of vehicles (among other things), as long as the regulation is not inconsistant with the MVA.

This could be inconsistant as one can park on the paved shoulder of the highway as long as you don't obstruct the free passage of traffic on the highway.