Turn Left – Red Light

In British Columbia

*This info is relevant to British Columbia, Canada and may not apply to other provinces, states or countries.

 

Two-Way Streets

You can not turn left on a red light if you’re turning onto a two-way street (it’s illegal).

 

One-Way Streets

You may turn left on a red light from a one-way street onto another one-way street or from a two-way street onto a one-way street. Treat as you would a right turn on a red light. You must completely stop and yield to others before proceeding. Check for turning restriction signs.

 

Left from one-way street onto one-way street is allowed:

 

one way left turn

 

Left from a two-way street onto a one-way street is also allowed:

 

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This is from the ICBC publication Learn to Drive Smart: Read the ICBC driving guides here.

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There is also a very clear statement on the Vancouver Police Department website.

 

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 Read about red lights in the BC MOTOR VEHICLE ACT:

 

Red light British Columbia Motor Vehicle Act

129  (1) Subject to subsection (2), when a red light alone is exhibited at an intersection by a traffic control signal, the driver of a vehicle approaching the intersection and facing the red light must cause it to stop before entering the marked crosswalk on the near side of the intersection, or if there is no marked crosswalk, before entering the intersection, and subject to the provisions of subsection (3), must not cause the vehicle to proceed until a traffic control signal instructs the driver that he or she is permitted to do so.

(2) The driver of a bus approaching an intersection and facing a red light and a prescribed white rectangular indicator may cause the bus to proceed through the intersection.

(3) Despite subsection (1), and except when a right turn permitted by this subsection is prohibited by a sign at an intersection, the driver of a vehicle facing the red light, and which in obedience to it is stopped as closely as practicable to a marked crosswalk on the near side of the intersection, or if there is no marked crosswalk, as closely as practicable to the intersection, may cause the vehicle to make a right turn, but the driver must yield the right of way to all pedestrians and vehicles lawfully proceeding as directed by the signal at the intersection.

(4) When a red light alone is exhibited at an intersection by a traffic control signal,

(a) a pedestrian facing the red light must not enter the roadway unless instructed that he or she may do so by a pedestrian traffic control signal,

(b) except when a left turn permitted by this paragraph is prohibited by a sign at the intersection, the driver of a vehicle facing the red light at the intersection of not more than 2 highways, and which in obedience to it is stopped as closely as practicable to a marked crosswalk on the near side of the intersection, or if there is no marked crosswalk, as closely as practicable to the intersection, may cause the vehicle to make a left turn into a highway on which traffic is restricted to the direction in which he or she causes the vehicle to turn, but the driver must yield the right of way to all pedestrians and vehicles lawfully proceeding as directed by the signal at the intersection, and

(c) a pedestrian proceeding across the roadway and facing the red light exhibited after he or she entered the roadway

(i)  must proceed to the sidewalk as quickly as possible, and

(ii)  has the right of way for that purpose over all vehicles.

 

 

 

 

4 comments

Saurabh September 16, 2015 at 6:20 pm

I have a question here as well.

I can see that there is a left turn signal on the light but it’s not on yet. There is no sign for LEFT TURN SIGNAL. In this case can I take left on just green signal without waiting for LEFT turn signal to be on.

Is there any other case in which I can override the left turn signal. I am looking for detailed guidelines as I find I get honked a lot when I keep waiting for left turn signals (I can definitely see left turn signal on the light).

Reply
BCDrivingBlog September 18, 2015 at 7:43 am

Can you tell me which intersection this is, I am not sure I know which type exactly you mean.

Reply
JC November 8, 2016 at 9:26 am

What Saurabh’s describing is that he is sitting at an intersection on a green light and will NOT be turning left, even if it’s clear, because the advance turn arrow isn’t telling him to turn left. I feel for those people honking behind him but commend him for looking for the reason why.

Reply
asdf October 14, 2015 at 3:51 pm

left signal on regular traffic lights
— other intersections have
left

turn lanes that are not controlled by a separate set of traffic
lights. Here the advance green arrow is located on the bottom
of the regular traffic lights.
The flashing green arrow allows you to turn left. Through traffic
is facing a red light.
Once the green arrow has turned off, and only the regular
green traffic light is on, you may still turn left. But you must
yield the right

of

way to pedestrians and oncoming traffic.
Sometimes these advance green arrows operate only during
peak traffic hours.

Reply

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