Q&A - Pedestrians at Risk from Turning Drivers
As a pedestrian in Vancouver I am feeling increasingly at risk. Cars making left turns are a particular hazard. To get to work I need to cross Cambie St. at 57th, where there is a pedestrian controlled crosswalk. I think that there needs to be more awareness around this kind of intersection.
Cars turning left onto Cambie from 57th have a short time to turn. They often turn onto Cambie while pedestrians are still in the middle of the street. With multiple lanes, this is understandable, that they want to maneuver behind pedestrians as soon as they can.
My problem is that now I am so used to this that I don't notice when cars actually haven't seen me and are coming straight at me.
This has happened to me now on two occasions. I know now that I have to be as aware as possible in this kind of situation. But, the drivers also have a huge responsibility.
I guess my question would be, what is the law about making a turn when the pedestrian is still on the street?
Drivers Must Wait for Pedestrians
Here is the intersection referred to:
The Motor Vehicle Act says quite a bit about the interaction between drivers and pedestrians:
127 (1) When a green light alone is exhibited at an intersection by a traffic control signal,
(a) the driver of a vehicle facing the green light
(i) may cause the vehicle to proceed straight through the intersection, or to turn left or right, subject to a sign or signal prohibiting a left or right turn, or both, or designating the turning movement permitted,
(ii) must yield the right of way to pedestrians lawfully in the intersection or in an adjacent crosswalk at the time the green light is exhibited, and
(iii) must yield the right of way to vehicles lawfully in the intersection at the time the green light became exhibited, and
(b) a pedestrian facing the green light may proceed across the roadway in a marked or unmarked crosswalk, subject to special pedestrian traffic control signals directing him or her otherwise, and has the right of way for that purpose over all vehicles.
(2) When a green light alone is exhibited at a place other than an intersection by a traffic control signal,
(a) the driver of a vehicle
(i) may cause the vehicle to pass the signal, and
(ii) must yield the right of way to a pedestrian still in the roadway or on a crosswalk in the vicinity of the signal when the green light is exhibited,
(b) a pedestrian still in the roadway or on a crosswalk in the vicinity of the signal when the green light is exhibited must proceed as quickly as possible from the roadway, and
(c) a pedestrian must not enter the roadway in the vicinity of the signal until either
(i) the traffic control signal facing the vehicular traffic exhibits a red light, or
(ii) a traffic control signal instructs the pedestrian that he or she may cross the roadway.
132 (1) When the word "walk" or an outline of a walking person is exhibited at an intersection by a pedestrian traffic control signal, a pedestrian may proceed across the roadway in the direction of the signal in a marked or unmarked crosswalk and has the right of way over all vehicles in the intersection or any adjacent crosswalk.
(2) When the word "walk" or an outline of a walking person is exhibited at a place other than an intersection by a pedestrian traffic control signal, a pedestrian may proceed across the roadway in the direction of the signal and has the right of way over all vehicles.
(3) When the word "wait", the words "don't walk" or an outline of a raised hand are exhibited at an intersection or at a place other than an intersection by a pedestrian traffic control signal,
(a) a pedestrian must not enter the roadway, and
(b) a pedestrian proceeding across the roadway and facing the word "wait", the words "don't walk", or an outline of a raised hand exhibited after he or she entered the roadway
(i) must proceed to the sidewalk as quickly as possible, and
(ii) has the right of way for that purpose over all vehicles.
Rights of way between vehicle and pedestrian
179 (1) Subject to section 180, the driver of a vehicle must yield the right of way to a pedestrian where traffic control signals are not in place or not in operation when the pedestrian is crossing the highway in a crosswalk and the pedestrian is on the half of the highway on which the vehicle is travelling, or is approaching so closely from the other half of the highway that he or she is in danger.
Duty of driver
181 Despite sections 178, 179 and 180, a driver of a vehicle must
(a) exercise due care to avoid colliding with a pedestrian who is on the highway,
(b) give warning by sounding the horn of the vehicle when necessary, and
(c) observe proper precaution on observing a child or apparently confused or incapacitated person on the highway.
So, if there were no traffic lights present, drivers must not make the turn when pedestrians are approaching closely or are on the half of the highway that the vehicle is turning onto. However, Cambie and 57th are controlled by traffic lights. This allows the pedestrian right of way to cross, but does not prohibit the driver from using the lane that the pedestrian has crossed over as long as passing behind the pedestrian is done in safety or those signals are inoperative.
Ok I know this is a really
Ok I know this is a really old post, but anyway. I think part of the problem is that new vehicles are coming equipped with air bags inside the A-pillar. This increases the size of the A-pillar substantially, thus creating a much larger blind spot right where the pedestrian is walking or about to walk when the driver is about to turn left. Essentially the pedestrian doesn't exist at that moment. Try to get eye contact. Whenever I'm teaching people how to turn left I tell them the pedestrian should be "at least past the yellow line" (one that has already walked across the part of the road you'll be driving on when turning left) or "half way into the 2nd lane" if there are 2 lanes and the pedestrian is walking towards the curb, before their car even moves. Don't know if that makes sense without a diagram. There really isn't a written rule which states how much space you should give pedestrians. For me, enough not to give people a heart attack is good. Also, pedestrians can trip, fall, drop something, change their mind, see their friend and turn around, and all sorts of other unpredictable actions, so the more the better. I think that pedestrians should do a few jumping jacks on the corner before they cross. I think that would help the A-pillar problem just a bit.