BC's Bad Driver of the Week - 292EAJ

Bad Driver SignBC's Bad Driver of the Week features BC licence 292EAJ on Northfield Road in Nanaimo. Rather than wait for traffic that was stopped at a red light, this driver moved onto the shoulder of the roadway and passed by on the right. This is one example of behaviour that makes it mandatory to shoulder check before you turn or move laterally.



To pass, or not to pass? That is the question!

Well actually, I have a couple of related questions.  Maybe more.

  1. Is there a definition of 'passing' in the mighty Motor Vehicle Act?  This may sound silly, but it does seem that a vehicle that goes by another vehicle so that the first vehicle can make a turn isn't actually trying to get ahead of the passee (new word) in the same manner as a driver who overtakes in the usual way we would think of as passing someone else ahead of us.
  2. Which part of the MVA/Regs defines the 'roadway' edge as being defined as the white line on the right side (presuming there is such a thing painted there)?  What about the shoulder?  It's not a traffic lane as such, but neither is it the gravel area beyond the asphalt.  And as it isn't a traffic lane, the rule about changing lanes across a solid white line wouldn't apply - would it?
  3. Provided that the driver passing on the right in this situation has checked for pedestrians, cyclists, horses, and like that in the area adjacent to the right of his vehicle, is this maneuver actually dangerous?

Your thoughts, please! indecision



1) The words in the section, overtake and pass, are not defined in the Motor Vehicle Act. The dictionary definition of these two words are what the courts would take notice of.

2) "roadway" means the portion of the highway that is improved, designed or ordinarily used for vehicular traffic, but does not include the shoulder, and if a highway includes 2 or more separate roadways, the term "roadway" refers to any one roadway separately and not to all of them collectively;

You are correct, if there is no lane there you cannot be guilty of changing lanes over a solid line.

3) I would say yes because it is illegal and when you are not supposed to be there many drivers will take for granted that you are not there and will fail to look for you. Doing what you are not supposed to creates confusion and confusion is not good when it comes to driving.

Answer to To Pass or Not to Pass

Question # 2

The question asks about the definition of "roadway" and where (white fog line, gravel beyond blacktop) does it stop.  Then goes on to ask about when there is asphalt to the right of a left turning vehicle, stating "it isn't a traffic lane, so the rule about changing lanes across a solid line wouldn't apply".

You are correct. But that isn't the section that regulates passing on the right.

The portion of the MVA that addresses this is Sec 158(1) & (2)

Basically if there is only one lane for travel in your direction and a car in front of you is turning left, if you can pass that vehicle on the right without travelling off the roadway and the movement can be made in safety you can do so.  The key is the vehicle ahead of you must be the vehicle turning.

Many time we see a left turning vehicle stopped waiting and the vehicle or vehicles behind it are just waiting and are not passing on the right.  If you were the third or fourth in the line you CAN NOT pass the line of vehicles.  Also we see on a multi laned roadway, a wide curb lane (no lane dividing lines, it's just very wide) before an intersection.  The vehicles are backed up waiting for a red traffic light.  You can NOT pass them because you will not be passing "a vehicle signalling or intending to turn left".

You make a good point!

It's true, if there's a vehicle stopped, having signalled their intention to turn left, and several vehicles intending to continue straight are behind it, Section 158 only permits the first of those vehicles to pass on the right (then the next, then the next, etc).  For anyone else to make the pass, with a vehicle or vehicles ahead that are not intending to turn, is illegal (though common).

And incidentally, it remains ambiguous - to my mind, at least - whether two or more vehicles, both stopped and signalling the intention to turn left may be passed.  Seems reasonable that a driver could do this, but it could be clarified in law.

I'm still eager to learn where 'roadway' is defined, particularly the right edge of it and the solid white line question.


Roadway is defined in section 119 MVA and the definition is present in this thread a couple of items up from here.

And yes, one may pass with caution on the right if multiple vehicles ahead are ALL signalling their intention to turn left AND you do not have to leave the roadway to do it.

If one in the group is not signalling, now you are stuck, possibly in a bad position.

I was stuck in a bad position, once ...

Ah, thanks for the Section 119 reference, I had missed that earlier.

Being as there doesn't appear to be any mention of the solid white line on the right, do you know where one can find a definition of 'shoulder'?  Sorry to be difficult, eh?  


When there is a solid white line at the right edge of the roadway, the shoulder is to the right of that line. When there is no solid white line painted the shoulder is to the right of the pavement edge.

If you are on divided highway, the shoulder starts to the left of the yellow line as well.

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