How Far Away do I Park?
I received a request from a gentleman who wanted others to know how far away drivers have to park from different roadside features. He has a problem with people parking across the end of his driveway rather than keeping their distance and is hoping that a reminder to other drivers might solve it. Is your measuring tape ready?
Knowing how far away to park from something may be difficult as there often isn't a sign present to tell you. Drivers must know the proper distances from memory and it is worth being generous in your estimate to avoid a parking ticket.
A good rule of thumb to consider is that parking rules are made to insure good sight distances for drivers trying to enter the road. If you would have trouble seeing around the vehicle that you are parking, chance are you are too close.
You cannot stop, stand or park in the following places:
- on a sidewalk or boulevard
- in front of a driveway
- in an intersection unless permitted by a sign
- on a crosswalk, bridge, elevated roadway or in a tunnel
- contrary to a sign
- on the roadway side of a vehicle already parked
- on a highway for the purpose of advertising or selling
- where parking would obstruct a sign
You must not park, stop or stand within 5 metres of a fire hydrant.
You must not park, stop or stand within 6 metres of:
- the approach side of a crosswalk
- the approach to a flashing beacon, stop sign, or traffic control signal
- the entrance or exit of a hotel, theatre, public meeting place, dance hall, fire hall
- a playground in a rural area.
You cannot park, stop or stand within 15 metres of a railroad crossing.
There are definitions to keep in mind here:
- Stop means that your vehicle's wheels have ceased to turn
- Stand means that you are in the process of exiting, loading or unloading a stopped vehicle
- Park covers all other circumstances
These rules are taken from our Motor Vehicle Act (MVA) which governs the whole province. Drivers must also be aware of municipal bylaws as they can impose parking rules in addition to those found in the MVA.
Our provincial driving manual, Learn to Drive Smart has some parking tips on page 58.
Of course, if you must park somewhere forbidden due to a breakdown, a note on the car and a word to the property owner goes a long way to avoid misunderstandings.
Submitted by E-mail
When you quote the law on locations at which it is illegal to park, you referred to the Motor Vehicle Act. Don't forget that many municipalities have further laws restricting parking.
If the violation results in your car being towed away, it's little comfort that it was towed under the authority of a city by-law verses the Motor Vehicle Act.
For example Vancouver has a by-law, making it illegal to park on a street in front of property used for residential or commercial purposes between 8:00 AM and 6:00 PM for more than three hours, except for the resident or employee of the resident. (by complaint only)
The Street and Traffic By-Law (By-Law 2849) is quite extensive and is the "tool" mostly used by authorities to enforce parking violations inside the city of Vancouver (the fines go straight to the city :) )
Contained in that legislation in addition to parking restrictions are many laws restricting vehicle movement in Vancouver.
U-Turns are restricted with additional prohibited maneuvers to those contained in the MVA. Between the By-Law and the MVA, the only place you can execute a U-Turn in Vancouver is at a completely uncontrolled intersection not obstructed by a hill, in a residential area, without backing or affecting other traffic.
On the other side, "double parking", covered very nicely in the MVA, as you've outlined, "parked on the road side of a parked or stopped vehicle", is not covered in Vancouver's By-Law, the only offence being "parked more than 30 cm from the curb".
Some cities need work on their by-laws. The City of Kelowna does not have a by-law prohibiting "Jay Walking". (Jay walking is crossing the roadway, not at an intersection within one block of a traffic control device) It removes the loop hole of, instead of waiting at the intersection for the red traffic light to walk 10 feet from the intersection and cross there.
You can in Kelowna !
Did you know...
- It's illegal to park a bus in a bus zone.
- It's obviously illegal for someone to park in front of your driveway. It's also illegal for you to do so.
Motorcycle parking within 6 M of crosswalk
A few years ago, Minister Todd Stone added 189 (3) to the BC MVA. He then supposedly advised the various Municalities in BC that they might consider revisions to their bylaws. Few, if any, did.
The reluctance by such communities as White Rock, I could understand because "Soak the parker" is their major source of income. I'm surprised that they don't charge for stopping more than a few seconds at a traffic signal! A reason, incidentally, why I rarely patronise White Rock businesses.
But to my knowledge, even Delta which has steadfastly refused to permit "Pay Parking", have not enacted a conforming bylaw.
I discussed this with a prominent "motorcycle" Lawyer and asked his opinion about fighting a parking citation on the basis of it being "legal" by the BC MVA. His response was that it may be an interesting case but the legal fees would far outweigh the fine amount.
Relevant comment, I think?
A few years back, I did a project for the City of Richmond, conducting driver evaluations on their various employees operating their municipal vehicles. Works truck drivers, bylaw officers, like that.
Being as I have been based in North Vancouver for some many years, I found it interesting that one of their (Richmond) newer bylaw guys (who was actually a Surrey resident) told me that he had worked for a short time in the same role for the City of North Vancouver - and that all of their concern seemed to be about generating dollars from parking offences (over the 1 or 2 hour limit, parking 'backwards' in an angle parking spot, that kind of stuff) but not about safety issues (pedestrian/vehicle crosswalk offences, parking too close to an alley way, etc). Essentially, the low-confrontation, high dollar fine type offences.
Whereas, his new employers (Richmond, I forget if its a municipality or district) were far more concerned with balanced enforcement that helped their traffic areas function more effectively.
As with all policing, there is discretion to be used on the part of the people who run these things, and how they apportion their resources.
How far from where ?
Perhaps a point of clarification please..
The question pertains to a number of the MVA subsections :
And also the Vancouver Street and Traffic By-Law (By-Law 2849):
Many driveway sidewalk crossings, but interestingly, not lanes, have flared or trapezoidal sections where they cross the sidewalk. There seems to be no absolute rule on the angle or width of flare. The configuration may vary based on terrain or width. Some may also extend into rounded curbs. Lane intersections may have varying configurations, from a straight cut to trapezoids, to rounded curbs of varying radii. Even on a "straight cut" crossing, sidewalks will taper to the intersection point. It seems most of these variations or architectural or aesthetic in configuration, not by regulation.
It gets even more convoluted where there are bump-outs at intersections and other points, for example with bike path crossings.
Q: From what point is the measurement considered to be taken to " the nearest side "? I know the pragmatic person will say, take the most generous (widest) consideration, but is that the law? Is it OK to park immediately behind where the flare intersects the road or must you be behind the imaginary line that extends to the travel lane? If the trapezoid were there for line of sight, then that would be the case, but that is not written in the laws.
I recall a similar "where can I stop" dispute where the STOP sign was not placed consistent with the STOP line, but can't find it in the search results.
Personally, I believe there needs to be better communication between those who formalize the laws and by-laws and those who formalize the engineerings design standards to eliminate the ambiguities, but the legacy infrastructure remains as-is and we must deal with it.
I totally understand all of
I totally understand all of these comments. I have the same problem where I live, with so many Suites in homes these days more and more cars end up on the road. So much so that the road I live on, where it T's into the main junction it is very hard to see oncoming cars as vehicles are parked on the main road way boulevard. It's very hard to look both directions and see if it's safe to pull out.
I will reach out to the local Municipality and see if there is anything that can be done about such things!!!
Space Btwn vehicles
In the city of Richmond, I've searched by-laws but cannot find rules regarding the space you should give the vehicle in front of you when parking in a residential area. I have several neighbours who feel that 6 inches is more than enough room between your vehicle and theirs when they park. When you have two neighbours that feel this way and they park this way and box you in, it's maddening. No employer cares your late when this happens. No one seems to want to assist so you can get your vehicle so you can move. Bylaws doesn't help and RCMP are deferring to the bylaw officers. One neighbor that does this works as an officer for a different city. What have others done to fix this?
Neither the Motor Vehicle Act nor the City of Richmond's parking bylaw regulate the distance between parked vehicles. It appears that common sense doesn't apply in your neighbourhood either.
It's a good question that I have never been called on to solve during my policing career. Hopefully someone here will have a practical solution to share. If there aren't painted spaces, perhaps leave more space in front of your vehicle, but not so much that another car can park in it? That might be enough to exit if the person behind is ignorant.
Thank you. I thought
Thank you. I thought perhaps I was losing my mind when I couldn't find it. Always try to be cognizant of space but someone moves and whammo, I'm back to wiggling out again. Maybe I'll see if I can petition to get lines painted. I'm sure I'm not the only frustrated individual out here. New to maneuvering through this.
RE: Space Btwn vehicles
I like how they did it in Buenos Aires, Argentina (of course it was generally flat terrain) ...
When you parked, you left your wheels straight, can in neutral and the e-brake set just enough so the car does not run away on you.
The next guy would back in, nudge your bumper and push until he could fit. Everyone did it. It did create two downsides.
That is funny, I had just finsihed writing about the same in San Carlos de Bariloche, and I found your story. Then after 10:00 at night the streets in BA became the realm of pedestrians, and no cars moved, until way into the next morning.
Responding to Respectful driving
Having driven a variety of buses and other large vehicles for years, I recommend to my students that they look for the space that's closest, legally, to the nearest driveway, fire hydrant, intersection, crosswalk, or sign that prohibits anyone else from boxing you in.
It's safer and easier. Oftentimes, it also makes reversing to get out of the box unnecessary, which is ideal. And if a neighbour still parks illegally, use your cell phone to take a picture of his vehicle and license plate in place, then phone the local bylaws people to report it. Best to do this before you're in a hurry to leave, although once you're gone and the bylaw officer shows up, the miscreant's vehicle will hopefully still be where they left it.
This time ... they won't do it again.
Burnaby street parking for residents limited to 24 hours
It has recently come to my attention that Burnaby bylaw officers are enforcing paragraph 13(3)(d) of the street and traffic bylaw (1961) which states that all street parking anywhere in the city is limited to 24 consecutive hours. This applies to you parking your car on the street directly in front of your own house! People who could be especially impactedby this are vacationers, people working at home due to covid, retirees or other seniors, people who walk instead of drive on weekends to name a few. This enforcement seems nonsensical, especially in a climate disaster and a pandemic, but to avoid potential action a street parker must move their car every day. If you think this nonsense can’t possibly be true, read the bylaw (on page 9).
Who's cars are they ticketing?
These bylaws were written back at a time when everybody owned a house with a driveway and probably a garage, I reckon! Meanwhile, in this modern age, street parking (but not 'storage') is necessary for many. Lotsa adult kids are still living at home, for instance.
From memory, here in the City of North Vancouver, we've always had a bylaw prohibiting leaving a vehicle parked on a major arterial (such as Lonsdale Avenue) for more than 12 hours, I think it is.
But none of this really matters, if the bylaws are being applied effectively rather than arbitrarily.
So when the Burnaby bylaw officers write tickets (based on this 60 year old bylaw), whose vehicles are being ticketed? All and sundry, who commit this terrible offence? For instance, this is the time of year when many families go on vacation, and sometimes they drive to a relative's place and leave the car there when they fly out for a week or so.
So, are there neighbours who are sick and tired of seeing some cars parked seemingly forever on their block, using up the little space available? In some cases, they might walk over to the neighbour and ask about the vehicle. But it's not unlikely that they'll complain to the municipality where they pay their taxes, demanding that 'somebody should do something'?
Because if that's the case, this bylaw action would seem to be the solution to the problem.
Reply to Space Btwn
Long ago I went to Argentina to ski race and train. I got a firsthand example of driving down from the mountains after sundown, and at dusk with headlights purposely turned off. Yes, it was in a full Mercedes bus too, Negro, our driver singing all the way. When the light got significantly less the, the headlights would come back on. This seemed to be de rigueur. Not a lot cars coming up to the mountains.
One appreciates small things when touring unfamiliar places, San Carlos de Bariloche was picture perfect town on a large lake(kinda like home), and downtown the Police drove unmarked Ford Falcons(circa 1976 during the Junta), as did a lot of other citizens. And most ran straight pipes; not an ego thing, I reckon it was an economical thing.
The Argentines were frugal in their use of parking space; none was wasted; that meant to get as close as possible to the car parked ahead or behind. Usually the space was unusually small, way too small, for North American standards.
But being ingenious and getting things done was a speciality of Argentine drivers, I could tell. Back then, car bumpers were built of strong stuff, like steel, unlike now, so it made a perfectly good prod; just inch in and start pushing either the front car or the rear one. It worked like a charm, and to watch was a favourite pastime of ours. I realized that I was witnessing a norm, and that people would park their cars, not in gear, set the handbrake just enough to prevent a roll away; this gave everybody else a shoe horn chance of making a small space work. One simply opened the space a little more; nobody got hurt nor agitated. When a driver needed to get out of the space, so thoroughly boxed in, the same application of efficient and slow back and forth got the job done, and away they roared. Six cylinders to the wind.