Left Turn on Red

No Left Turn SignWhen I was relatively new to police work I was patrolling behind a car that had stopped at a red light with the left turn signal blinking. The next thing I knew, this car had turned left against the red light! Well, on went the lights and siren and I chased down this alleged red light runner. This would be an easy ticket, or so I thought.

"What do you mean officer?" asked the driver. "I'm allowed to turn left on a red light if I turn onto a one way street!"

I collected his documents and went back to the police car. Out came my copy of the Motor Vehicle Act and I read the section on red lights carefully. This driver was absolutely correct! I gave his documents back and apologized with a face that was likely just as red as that traffic light had been.

My lesson for the day was that in British Columbia, if I was turning left in the proper direction onto a one way street, I could do so after I had stopped at the red light and yielded to traffic as necessary. However, this type of turn may be prohibited by a sign at the intersection and may be prohibited entirely in other jurisdictions.

A great travel reference is the Digest of Motor Laws published by the American / Canadian Automobile Association.

References:

Red Light - Section 129(4) MVA
Learn to Drive Smart - Page 43

Request New User Account