Q&A - U-Turn Ticket Questions

Q&A ImageI was given a u turn ticket  under section 168 (b) (iv), on 104 avenue and 158 street in Surrey BC. You can get an idea of what this intersection looks like using google maps:

I was driving on 104 avenue, going towards the highway direction. I was in the left turn lane. I waited for a few cars to pass by. I saw the police cruiser parked by the lamp post on the side where the coast hotels is. I slowly and safely did a u turn when it was safe after waiting. It was a nice sunny day around 2:35pm on a Wednesday. There were no cars behind me on my turn lane, no cars going, no cars really going towards the highway direction, no cars on the sides of the street other than the police cruiser parked. And perhaps 1 car just exiting the highway and coming towards me, but was far enough deemed safe for me to do u turn.

I was pulled over. By the time I pulled over, I had enough time to be in the driveway of my home. The ticket was given to me on the front lawn of where I live. Neighbors saw what happened too. I have been living at this residence since 2005 if I could remember. Theres never really been a car accident in that intersection. People have been u turns all the time in this area. I often see police parked here, waiting for possibly speeders. I just happen to decide to do a u turn in front of one that day. The police officer gave me the ticket and that was it. No reasoning, no lecturing of what I did wrong, or talked to like a real person.

In some places where you read what the rules are, it will say it is illegal to do a u turn if it is at a intersection where there are control lights. In some places you read, it will say if there is a traffic control signal has been erected, not sure if they mean stop sign on the side of the street.....but where this incident happened. There is 1 stop sign, but it is not facing me as a driver, it is facing where the police cruiser can see it.  This was not done on the top of a hill,.....if there was a hill, it is ever so gradual and not steep that it is irrelevant. Not done in a business area...I did not interfere with traffic enough where it would cause oncoming traffic to brake, honk or anything remotely deem unsafe. The police is parked where his field of vision may be blocked by the plants and hotel sign. There are no signs that say I can't do a u turn there, theres one sign that says no exit, you may see it as you just turn left.

Now if looking at the rules icbc lays out for u turns. for us drivers...I can't be sure if I did do something illegal or not. Unless the police book is more in depth and we don't know about it as the public.  Some people say to pay and move on, people who actually know the area say to fight it....I want to fight it as I felt bullied and this was not worth a $167 ticket and for it to be on my record for 5 years with points. Should I fight this and what are my chances? Win? Pay less? Or lose? What happens if I lose, do I end up paying 2x in fees?

I forgot to mention that on the ticket itself, it says this happened on 104 avenue. But the officer did not state exactly what intersection 158st and 104 avenue where it happened on the ticket. Also his signature is just loops of the letter l.....He does have the police officer # however.

Comments

Answer

If the view shown is correct for today, this one is pretty simple. The officer used the wrong section on the ticket as it is meant for an intersection with a traffic signal. There is no traffic signal here.

Reverse turn

168  Except as provided by the bylaws of a municipality or the laws of a treaty first nation, a driver must not turn a vehicle so as to proceed in the opposite direction

(b) when he or she is driving

(iv)   at an intersection where a traffic control signal has been erected, or...

"traffic control signal" means a traffic control device, whether manually, electrically or mechanically operated, by which traffic is directed to stop and to proceed. A plain stop sign does not qualify.

The simplest method to deal with this would be to enter your dispute, hear the officer's case and then call no evidence at the end of it. Of course, this is based on the absence of a signal and no amendment made to the ticket prior to or during the trial.

There is a lot of information on this site dealing with trial, especially on the Traffic Links page.

If you lose a ticket dispute in traffic court the penalty is up to the justice, depending on the provisions in the law and even then they are often "bent" in favour of the accused. It is highly unlikely that the ticketed amount will be raised or you will receive a driving prohibition in traffic court.

The obligation is on you to know the traffic laws and to follow them when you are driving. It is up to the officer to enforce violations and by doing nothing he or she is not doing their job properly. What they do have is discretion to warn or to ticket or even to send you directly to court. This discretion is up to the officer and I know that I often saw the situation much differently than the offender did. There really is no requirement beyond telling you what you did wrong, talking to you in a civil manner and keeping the length of the stop reasonable.

If you choose not to drive correctly, regardless of what you might see other drivers doing or not doing, you take the chance of receiving a ticket.

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