Signs & Signals

Information regarding traffic signs and signals.

Flashing Traffic Signals

Traffic Signal Warning SignA motorist will encounter three types of flashing traffic signals, red, yellow and green. Learn to Drive Smart, BC's Safe Driving Guide gives examples of each situation on page 37, but the law set out in the Motor Vehicle Act is more descriptive. Let's examine each case and see what is required.

Q&A - Straight Through for Bicycles Only

CyclistQUESTION: Eastbound on Point Grey at Alma there are two bike lanes on the north side of the street that are allowed to cross Alma without stopping. Cars eastbound on Point Grey must turn either right or left, and there is a curb/diverter on the far side to prevent them going straight through.

Cars northbound on Alma face a stop sign, and one option is to turn right through the diverter.

VIDEO - Why the Dutch Wait Less at Traffic Lights

VideoThe description of this video showing how traffic lights work in Holland explains that they are designed and timed to move the most traffic of all kinds, not the most motor vehicles.

VIDEO - How do Stop Lights Know to Turn Green?

VideoHave you ever watched a driver waiting in vain for the traffic light to turn green because they failed to stop properly at an intersection? In most parts of BC signals respond to inductive loops buried in the pavement to sense the presence of your vehicle. An understanding of how they work can prevent you from being stuck.

Q&A - Cyclist Failed to Yield

Yield to Bicycles SignQuestion: I was driving at the intersection of 2nd Avenue and the Cambie Street on ramp in Vancouver. I turned right on a green light to head onto Cambie Street. I did not have to yield to any pedestrians as they were being held by the pedestrian signal. I moved about 20 feet into turn and my car was struck on the passenger side by a bicyle rider doing full speed.

Regulatory and Advisory Signs

Speed SignDrivers are often confused about the difference between a regulatory sign and an advisory sign. A regulatory sign generally has black characters or symbols on a white background and an advisory sign has black characters or symbols on a yellow background. So, what's the difference?

Q&A - Do I Have to Obey the Sign?

Q&A ImageI was asked to comment on an interesting "exchange of views" on Facebook regarding a no left turn sign posted by the Delta School District at Richardson Elementary School. It began as a discussion about whether a driver had to obey the sign or not and then deteriorated into less than respectful exchanges. Unfortunately, the post was removed, so you can't gather anything of value from it regardless now.

RESEARCH - Safety Evaluation of Pedestrian Countdown Signals

Pedestrian Countdown SignalHere's a document from the US Federal Highway Authority that looks at the safety benefit of pedestrian countdown signals. The study results showed that after the implementation of these signals, pedestrian crashes decreased by 9 percent, total crashes decreased by 8 percent and rear-end crashes decreased by 12 percent.

Q&A - Flashing Yellow Pedestrian Crossing Lights

Pedestrian Crossing signThis question is regarding pedestrian controlled crossings (with the yellow flashing lights, street illumination lighting, etc.). I know that you have written many articles regarding pedestrians and have quoted the applicable sections of the Act. However, I am still not 100% sure of the requirements of these particular crossings. Four of these have been added in my community and local area in the past few years and it seems to me that there is some confusion over responsibilities of stopping.

Q&A - No Pedestrian Crossing

Q&A ImageQ: I am confused by this sign on Pandora Avenue in Victoria that seems to indicate no pedestrian crossing to vehicle traffic yet there is nothing to tell the pedestrian not to cross the street here. There is even a wheelchair ramp encouraging pedestrians to cross. I suspect that there are more examples of this in the area. Can you explain what that sign means?

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