Turning Left Over Solid Lines

Left Turn Over Double Solid Line

You should do something about turning left on double solid lines, Port Alberni is terrible for it.

In defence of Port Alberni, I can probably say that all of British Columbia is terrible for it. Many drivers have an incomplete idea of what the lines on the road really mean. The basic intent is that regardless of what kind of line is painted down the center of the highway, drivers are required to stay to the right of it.

I can hear the muttering starting now. What? That's not right! It is correct, but it is not complete. Once we are past the basic intent there are special circumstances where a driver is allowed to cross the lines if the situation permits it. Even a single broken yellow line means stay to the right, except when you are safely overtaking another vehicle on the left.

The double solid line this reader speaks of is even more strict. A driver must keep to the right of it at all times, with one exception, and that is when you are entering or leaving the highway. Even then you must do so safely and not unreasonably interfere with other traffic.

What is unreasonable interference? That's a good question, and one where there is no simple answer. Each situation must be looked at individually depending on the circumstances. If you are leaving the highway mid-block, the oncoming lanes are solid bumper to bumper, the traffic is busy behind you and there is no way for others overtaking you to go around legally, you should be considering making the turn at an intersection and coming back. If you are one of few vehicles on the road and the vehicle behind must wait for a few seconds perhaps this isn't unreasonable.

In short, it is not illegal to turn left over a double solid line in all cases, but there may be few opportunities to do so legally.



I often wonder ...

... why so many people believe that you can't turn left across solid lines, provided it can be done without unreasonably affecting other traffic.

After all, those various combinations of broken and solid white lines are there to control traffic movement in the same direction, while the combinations of broken and solid yellow lines are there to control traffic movement in opposite directions.

Traffic laws in BC and most other jurisdictions were created for two fundamental reasons - to help prevent collisions, and to promote traffic flow.  That's why Section 156 is there in the MVA, it's only logical.


1/ What is deemed a highway in British Columbia? 2/ The act says you may make a left turn to enter a "driveway", crossing either a single or double yellow line. What constitutes a "driveway"? Does a place of business entrance qualify as a "driveway"? 

The act I believe seems subject to interpretation, if you impede traffic while waiting to make that left turn it's a tickatable offense no? If the line is broken you could stay there all day, sarcasm, legally no?

Motor Vehicle Act - Definition

'Highway' is pretty broadly defined:

"highway" includes

(a)every highway within the meaning of the Transportation Act,

(b)every road, street, lane or right of way designed or intended for or used by the general public for the passage of vehicles, and

(c)every private place or passageway to which the public, for the purpose of the parking or servicing of vehicles, has access or is invited,

but does not include an industrial road;

Haven't found an MVA definition for 'Driveway', yet.

The act I believe seems subject to interpretation, if you impede traffic while waiting to make that left turn it's a tickatable offense no?

It's dependent on one's definition of 'unreasonable', which seems logical and, uh, reasonable to me.

Suspension of sections 151 and 155

156  If the driver of a vehicle is causing the vehicle to enter or leave a highway and the driver has ascertained that he or she might do so with safety and does so without unreasonably affecting the travel of another vehicle, the provisions of sections 151 and 155 are suspended with respect to the driver while the vehicle is entering or leaving the highway.

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