Q&A - Right Turns From Wide Curb Lanes

Q&A ImageMy question relates to right turns. In the City of Vancouver there are a number of intersections where the roadway is of sufficient width for three lanes each way but are only striped for 2. The right lane is therefore double the width of the left lane, and generally is used to accommodate parking and bus stops. Main Street at 41st Avenue southbound is a good example.

Frequently cars wishing to turn right will pass cars lined up in the right lane (but are at the left edge of the lane). This seems to me like it is an illegal pass on the right. What is also confusing is that it seems to me that a cyclist could use the same space and proceed right or straight through, from my reading of the relevant Motor Vehicle Act sections. I would appreciate your feedback.

I do treat it as illegal pass on the right (the vehicle being overtaken is not turning left, and there is no dedicated lane for you).

I typically refrain from doing this right turn myself and hold on to my travelling position until I'm lined up with the intersection.
Of course there are dinkuses who dart into the "phantom right turn lane" from behind and complete the manoeuvre illegally. But all you can do is grip the steering wheel harder and try not to be too presumptuous in the hereditary examination of the offender. I'm sure bicyclists are feeling even worse about those people.

Some people "transfer" this bad habit into turning right at a 2way/4way stop, when one car is going straight or left, and another let's itself into the right turn at the same time. All you can do is slow down and act predictable, and get ready to react to whichever conflict may develop.

While doing this is a definite bad habit - going against the spirit of the rules - by not being predictable, I'm also peeved by people not making it into their own lane on the right or left turn. As per rules, I should be able to expect somebody to end up in a designated spot after completing a "standard" manoeuvre, however I now have to "account" for the dinkus to complete their right turn into my furthest left lane, and if I were to inadvertently rear-end them -  it's my fault for following too closely (even if the douche turned in half a second prior)


I am certainly one of those dinkuses. I turn right through a phantom space. Why not? If it is safe, and it is done slowly why should you get pissed off about it? Why should I waste gas and pollute and take up space that could be used by another vehicle? Just so you feel better? So that everyone waits their "turn"?

Frankly the city should put a turn lane there or it should be a legal action. It's certainly a safe one.

As you can see, the curb lane is about two lanes wide at the intersection and there are no lines painted on the pavement to indicate a third lane or curb parking. There are a couple of articles concerning passing on the right on this site and some case law cited. Taking it all into account, passing a vehicle on the right when that vehicle is in the curb lane of this intersection is illegal regardless of the fact that there may be enough room.

We are all dinkuses one way or another...

I agree wholeheartedly Re: Traffic Efficiency, and it seems like a few particular spots can be divided into right turn pockets.

The primary reason not to do it is predictability - rules are in-place to mitigate traffic, and once the certain (I like to call them "positional") rules get bent conflicts of space occurs.

Heres what to look out for when completing this illegal maneuver:
- pedestrians on the left walking from in front of the vehicle being passed.
- Vehicle being passed decides to right turn "by the rules"
- Bicycles by the curb
- Pedestrians on the right
- Left turners from the on-coming lane

And if you get in to a conflict of space (accident) it will be deemed 110% your fault as you have no legal right to be there.

Of course if the traffic is stalled and you need to turn right three cars ahead you can do it - in a cautious and predictable manner; but if its a matter of 15-20 seconds... Maybe you can sit tight and act socially acceptable :)