Q&A - Parking Distance From a Bus Stop

Q&A ImageQuestion: I am a driving student, and I am interested to know what the law is with respect to parking near a bus stop. Sometimes there is a bus stop sign as well as a "no stopping before this point" sign about 5 meters after. Other times there is only the bus stop sign. In the latter case, how much space must legally be left between the rear of your car and the bus stop sign?

Motor Vehicle Act

Here is the provincial legislation that sets all of the places in British Columbia where one cannot stop (vehicle ceases to move), stand (vehicle is stopped but the driver is in it) or park (vehicle is stopped and not occupied):

When vehicle stopping prohibited

189 (1) Except when necessary to avoid conflict with traffic or to comply with the law or the directions of a peace officer or traffic control device, a person must not stop, stand or park a vehicle as follows:

(a) on a sidewalk or boulevard;

(b) in front of a public or private driveway;

(c) in an intersection, except as permitted by a sign;

(d) within 5 m of a fire hydrant measured from a point in the curb or edge of the roadway that is closest to the fire hydrant;

(e) on a crosswalk;

(f) within 6 m of the approach side of a crosswalk;

(g) within 6 m on the approach to a flashing beacon, stop sign or traffic control signal located at the side of a roadway;

(h) within 6 m either side of the entrance to or exit from a hotel, theatre, public meeting place, dance hall, fire hall or playground in rural area;

(i) within 15 m of the nearest rail of a railway crossing;

(j) subject to subsection (4), on a highway for the principal purpose of

(i) displaying a vehicle for sale,

(ii) advertising, greasing, painting, wrecking, storing or repairing a vehicle, unless repairs are necessitated by an emergency,

(iii) displaying signs, or

(iv) selling flowers, fruit, vegetables, sea foods or other commodities or articles;

(k) alongside or opposite a street excavation or obstruction when stopping, standing or parking obstructs traffic;

(l) on the roadway side of a vehicle stopped or parked at the edge or curb of a roadway;

(m) on a bridge or other elevated structure on a highway, or in a highway tunnel, except as permitted by a traffic control device;

(n) in a place in contravention of a traffic control device that gives notice that stopping, standing or parking there is prohibited or restricted;

(o) in a manner that obstructs the visibility of a standard traffic sign erected by or with the authority of the minister responsible for the administration of the Transportation Act, a municipality or a treaty first nation.

As you can see, your bus stop is not mentioned here, so in the absence of a sign telling you that you must not park as shown by the signs, or a yellow curb, you could park in a bus stop as far as provincial traffic laws are concerned.

Municipal Bylaws

Here is the definition of bus stop in the City of Vancouver's Street & Traffic Bylaw as an example:

"Bus Stop" means an area on a street for the stopping of buses only that

(a) is delineated by 2 signs, or

(b) extends 36 metres from and in the direction indicated on 1 sign, or

(c) is within 36 metres of the approach side and within 8 metres of the departure side of a sign which identifies a location where buses stop to load or unload passengers.

This section of the bylaw makes it an offence to park in a bus stop without authorization:

17.3 An owner, registered owner, lessee or operator of a vehicle must not cause, allow or permit that vehicle to stop on any portion of a street designated as a bus stop unless the vehicle is a BC Transit Bus or a bus operated by a person permitted by the City Engineer to use a bus stop.

Another example of bus stop marking is the City of Victoria which paints the curb red.

Is It a Bus Stop?

image of a bus stop in the city of burnaby

Bus stops in municipalities are generally easy to recognize. If you are parking near one and don't see signs or a red curb, it might be a wise choice to find another spot that you are sure is legal, just to be on the safe side. Do some research and be prepared if you are going to go there again.

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