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.

Here's the sign being commented on:

no left turn sign

Comments

Answer

The short answer here is yes, drivers must obey this sign.

I contacted the Director of Facilities & Planning for the Delta School District and was informed that this sign was posted after receiving direction from the municipality.

Traffic control devices, of which this sign is one example, are dealt with in Division 23 MVAR. This portion of the MVAR explains who can place them and how they should be designed.

Section 124 MVA gives the municipality power to erect traffic control devices.

Once in place, it is up to drivers to obey the traffic control device.

Are you going to risk $121 and 2 penalty points to find out if it is a proper sign or not? In a case like this it should be fairly obvious that it was placed for good reason and that disobeying it is not a smart thing to do.

 

More information, please!

I don't doubt that the sign was legally erected; apparently the change in the regulations has annoyed some folks (nothing new there), and meanwhile it looks like a great number of those responding to that FB page are basically ignorant of traffic issues; the loudest are the dumbest.

Something I note that the Delta School District has done its best to minimize the impact on drivers, as the sign is only in effect during relatively restricted hours. Good for them!

What would be worth knowing here, is what the impetus was in the first place, that caused them to create this temporary restriction? I'll bet that it's a safety issue, which many wish to disregard because it's an inconvenience.

3 comments

Re: Original post by DriveSmartBC -  How do we read "an interesting "exchange of views" on Facebook"? The link goes to "This post has been removed or could not be loaded."

Re: CompetentDriving BC question -  It's conjecture, but it seems likely that the School District sign saying no-left-turn during certain times was directed by the municipality to be placed there because drivers wanting to turn left onto a busy road were either doing so unsafely, or, while waiting for the opportunity to proceed safely, were creating congestion and long delays for drivers who wanted to exit right.

Associated issue - What is the situation when a sign like this is in place by a landowner,  not by order of the municipality? In some places turn restriction signs are found just before an exit from a parking lot at a shopping centre, strip mall, big box store, etc. without any marking to suggest they are municipal. And sometimes the roadways between the lines of parking spaces in these areas are marked for travel in one direction only. I recognise there may be good reasons for these signs and markings, and compliance is generally sensible, but when someone does not comply can they be ticketed?

Can't Contol Other Sites

The link was valid when I wrote the article, but I noted a couple of days after that it had been removed. Likely because of a bunch of adults behaving like 2 year olds and having the thread deteriorate to "you're an idiot" and "no, you're the idiot" instead of a reasonable exchange of views.

I've edited the article to remove the bad link.

I'll take a shot at this one.

In some places turn restriction signs are found just before an exit from a parking lot at a shopping centre, strip mall, big box store, etc. without any marking to suggest they are municipal. And sometimes the roadways between the lines of parking spaces in these areas are marked for travel in one direction only. I recognise there may be good reasons for these signs and markings, and compliance is generally sensible, but when someone does not comply can they be ticketed?

Publicly accessible parking lots are definitely puzzling. When it comes to painting lines and arrows on the road surface, they'll as often as not use yellow paint instead of white, which is wrong. The centreline of a two-way street should be yellow, a curb with a parking restriction also I think, but that's it in BC so far as I know. So all those yellow arrows, and even more common, yellow-lined stalls are wrong; they should be white.

Meanwhile, there's the question of what the parking lot owners do at the exits; Safeway, for instance, always erect a Stop sign prior to the sidewalk. They don't need to, there's an invisible stop sign there anyway I think, per Section 176:

Emerging from alleys

176   (1)The driver of a vehicle in a business or residence district and emerging from an alley, driveway, building or private road must stop the vehicle immediately before driving onto the sidewalk or the sidewalk area extending across an alleyway or private driveway, and must yield the right of way to a pedestrian on the sidewalk or sidewalk area.

That there parking lot is a private road, just like a gas station - or the exit from the any ICBC parking lot that commences a driving test. You gotta stop, regardless. Technically, if someone failed to stop and was spotted by a cop, it would be interesting to see what charge was brought. Section 186, maybe?

It's also entirely possible that commonly accessible property is governed by regular driving rules if you ignore those lines and arrows, but that might be a hard argument.

Here's another weirdness about some shopping centre parking lots - fire hydrants, placed adjacent to parking spaces. Can they do that?  Hmmm ...

And don't even get me started on posted speed limits in some shopping centres and their environs ...

Speculation

I suspect that commercial parking lots often have municipalities mandate their setup. If that's the case, the signs and markings become something that you have to follow. How would you know? You probably wouldn't, so why not just follow them and be safe for two reasons, one, you wouldn't get a ticket and two, you would be doing what other drivers expect.

I don't suspect that at all.

I suspect that commercial parking lots often have municipalities mandate their setup.

Not me. Certainly, access and egress points will be determined with the necessary municipal department. Projected traffic volumes to and from the parking centre will be part of this discussion. This allows the municpality to best integrate the centre on their existing structure.

But that's no different than the provision of everything else to and from the location; sewer, water supply, gas, electricity, fibre optics and so on; you can see the serious changes in infrastructure going on around new sites particularly in Burnaby and North Vancouver. In most cases, this involves increasing all volumes to and from the place.

But I digress.

If that's the case, the signs and markings become something that you have to follow. How would you know? You probably wouldn't, so why not just follow them and be safe for two reasons, one, you wouldn't get a ticket and two, you would be doing what other drivers expect.

Obviously, I can't argue with parking within the lines no matter what colour they are, and driving 'against' the arrows on a roadway marked as a one way is pretty dumb. But most parking lots are not optimized for safety, putting pedestrians too often in conflict with drivers due to poor arrangements of the lot. Marked crosswalks are rare, and often ignored by pedestrians, who seem averse to using the marked crosswalks where they exist. 

I drive buses for some Senior's Residences, and oftentimes a mall will be a destination. But try and find a 'legal' place to load/unload passengers, particularly with a side lift! Oftentimes the best place is in a cross-hatched area designed for pedestrians (these buses are terrible vision blockers, incidentally), or on a soft curb with 'No Stopping' signs that everyone ignores anyway.

And don't mention those Handicapped zones; many places seem to think that a bit of blue and white paint creates a reasonable area to onload and offload your passengers; they do little to create level surfaces, with sufficient space for even an 18 passenger bus. But they'll never turn down the business, even though they're so unaccommodating at most of these centres.

And I don't think that the municipality cares, or monitors, any of this. I only wish they would, it could only improve parking lot safety.

Pedestrians

I certainly agree with you there! Parking lots are designed for motor vehicles with almost no thought for pedestrians at all.

I have often wondered about

I have often wondered about the yield signs on BC transit buses,and whether there was something specific in the MVA that adresses them.I usually think about it after they cut me off, with no traffic behind me.

Answer

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