Q&A - Pedestrians Must Yield to Vehicles Signage

Q&A ImageMy university workplace has just erected signage at a pedestrian crossing leading to a parking lot and I am just trying to determine if this is in contravention of current pedestrian right of way laws in BC (before I submit a formal complaint, so that I have all my facts). There is a one-way road/driveway which leads to a small employee only parking lot next a bus loop. At the pedestrian crossing of this road/driveway the sign reads, "Pedestrians yield to traffic." Should not traffic yield to pedestrians? Even at our pedestrian controlled intersections on campus, the buses & traffic have a hard time stopping to allow pedestrians to walk on the "walk signal." I think this new signage is just begging for an accident.


In Most Cases, Vehicles Stop for Pedestrians

This sounds like an interesting situation! Like you, I think that it is confusing because that is not how crosswalks are meant to work. When you wait at a crosswalk, traffic is supposed to stop for you, not you for them. That caveat to this is that you must not move into a vehicle's path in such a way that they cannot stop for you.

What happens when the pedestrians obey the sign and the drivers obey the requirement to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk? Confusion! Everyone stands there and stares, wondering who should go.

The Motor Vehicle Act does allow a municipality to create a bylaw:

Municipal powers

124 (1) The council of a municipality may, by bylaw not inconsistent with or derogatory to this Part, provide for the following: (a) the placing or erection of traffic control devices to give effect to this Act or a bylaw adopted under this section; (b) the regulation, control or prohibition of pedestrian traffic, ridden or herded animals, vehicular traffic and traffic by other conveyances, either singly or together, on sidewalks, walkways or boulevards, or in or on lanes or ways separating the rear property lines of parcels of land fronting on highways running more or less parallel to and on each side of the lanes or ways, and at intersections of the lanes or ways with each other or with highways;

So, the municipality may not create a bylaw that requires actions different from those required for the same circumstances in the Motor Vehicle Act. I would argue that the university should behave in the same fashion.

You may be interested in these two documents as well:

These are the rules the province follows when it creates a crosswalk.


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