Q&A - Garbage Truck Leads the Morning Parade

Q&A ImageQuestion: I don't know if you drive much along Hammond Bay Road in Nanaimo, but it can be pretty frustrating having to follow a garbage truck on pickup day or on school days with buses stopping very 100 - 200 metres.

I dread the new "automatic" garbage trucks which I think will take far longer to pick up cans and put them down using hydraulics, rather than arm power.

Drivers appear to be unclear about passing these vehicles when stopped and 20 + vehicle convoys are not unusual.

A refresher on the rules might be beneficial.

image of a garbage truck dumping a bin

Street View of Hammond Bay Road

For the sake of discussion, I grabbed a random view of Hammond Bay Road:

Public Utility

These are public utility vehicles and the traffic rules apply to them differently than most drivers.

Definition of Public Utility

Government or private sector owned provider of energy, telecommunications, transportation, waste disposal, water, or other such basic good or service.


120 Unless the context otherwise requires,

(b) the provisions of this Part do not apply to persons, vehicles and other equipment while actually engaged in highway or public utility, construction or maintenance work on, under or over the surface of a highway while at the site of the work, but do apply to them when travelling to or from that site, and

Slow Driving Exemption for the Garbage Truck & School Bus

These vehicles are exempt from Part 3 of the Motor Vehicle Act while they are doing their jobs. One rule in Part 3 covers Slow Driving. While the vehicles may be exempt from it, their drivers must do this responsibly:

Construction and maintenance vehicles

121 Despite section 120 (b), the driver of a vehicle referred to in that section must drive with due regard for safety, having regard to all the circumstances, including the nature, condition and use of the highway and the amount of traffic that is, or might reasonably be expected to be, on it.

Removing the Roadblock

Once they start leading the parade, due regard for safety should require that they do something to let waiting vehicles pass before continuing on their route.

For drivers in the parade, of course you cannot pass the school bus when the red lights are flashing. It's fair game once the lights go out and it is safe though.

The garbage truck is subject to the slow down, move over rules as they all seem to be displaying flashing yellow lights these days. That would mean your maximum passing speed is 40 km/h.

Single solid yellow line? Yes, you may pass if it is safe to do so.

There should be no need to find 20 vehicles following a garbage truck or school bus.

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