Left Turn Traffic Light Procedure for Motorcycles – BC

Left turn traffic light procedure for motorcycles

Question:

I took my motorcycle road test yesterday and passed. But I got called out on how I was performing left turns. My riding school drilled into us to not enter the intersection until we were sure we could proceed immediately through the turn…not to enter and wait like a car does. This is because of the vulnerable nature of motorbikes to getting hit by cross traffic and not seeing you there.

In the test, I stopped at the line and waited for a gap in the oncoming (heavy) traffic but none ever appeared, even had a steady line of cars coming through the late yellow…had to wait through a second light cycle before I felt it was safe. . My tester told me this is absolutely the wrong procedure… I still feel this is the better option for a motorcycle. It is technically against the law or just not ideal for traffic flow?

I don’t ride motorcycles, but I believe the recommended procedure for left turns is the same whether riding a motorcycle or driving a car, or driving a truck; which would be to enter the intersection when the light is green and then exit the intersection whenever it is safe, on the green, yellow, or red if need be.

You are correct about one thing though; if you do not enter the intersection when green then you can not legally leave when yellow or red.

If you do wait behind the intersection and fail to turn for an extended period, I am not sure there is any specific law against this but it will certainly annoy the drivers behind you. And you may be there for 3 hours.

May I suggest avoiding left turns in busy traffic? Or, plan your route so that you turn left only where there is a left-turn arrow. You may also be able to turn right 3 times to avoid the left turn. Turning left is considered rather time-consuming and dangerous in general, but of course, everyone must know how to do this properly, and sometimes they are simply unavoidable.

left turn traffic light procedure for motorcycles

The ICBC guidebook for drivers:

http://www.icbc.com/driver-licensing/Documents/tuning_for_drivers_14.pdf

LEFT

Safety: 8 Ways to make your motorcycle more visible (RideApart)Opens in a new tab.

Just dress your bike like this guy, but get the White helmet or Bright one. Those who have White helmets crash less (I heard that somewhere).

Bright

Motor Vehicle ActOpens in a new tab.

165 (2) When the driver of a vehicle intends to turn it to the left at an intersection where traffic is permitted to move in both directions on each highway entering the intersection, the driver must
(a) cause the vehicle to approach the intersection in the portion of the right side of the roadway that is nearest the marked centre line, or if there is no marked centre line, then as far as practicable in the portion of the right half of the roadway that is nearest the centre line,
(b) keep the vehicle to the right of the marked centre line or centre line of the roadway, as the case may be, at the place the highway enters the intersection,
(c) after entering the intersection, turn the vehicle to the left so that it leaves the intersection to the right of the marked centre line of the roadway being entered, or if there is no marked centre line then to the right of the centre line of the roadway being entered, and,
(d) when practicable, turn the vehicle in the portion of the intersection to the left of the centre of the intersection.

127 (1) When a green light alone is exhibited at an intersection by a traffic control signal,

(a) the driver of a vehicle facing the green light
(i) may cause the vehicle to proceed straight through the intersection, or to turn left or right, subject to a sign or signal prohibiting a left or right turn, or both, or designating the turning movement permitted,
(ii) must yield the right of way to pedestrians lawfully in the intersection or in an adjacent crosswalk at the time the green light is exhibited, and
(iii) must yield the right of way to vehicles lawfully in the intersection at the time the green light became exhibited,

128 (1) When a yellow light alone is exhibited at an intersection by a traffic control signal, following the exhibition of a green light,

(a) the driver of a vehicle approaching the intersection and facing the yellow 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, unless the stop cannot be made in safety,

Carmen Cohoe

Carmen became a driving instructor at the age of 22 in beautiful North Vancouver, BC, and taught many drivers for almost a decade including brand new drivers, drivers from various countries, and seniors, using automatic & standard vehicles and a minivan. She created BC Driving Blog in 2012.

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