The Motor Vehicle Act and Regulations together make up the traffic enforcement “bible” for most police officers. They set the standards for traffic rules throughout the province of British Columbia.
What you may not have considered but could still run afoul of are local traffic bylaws enacted by municipalities. While they are similar in general, they may differ in scope and number from place to place and used to be difficult for drivers to become aware of.
You may automatically think of parking tickets when someone mentions traffic bylaws. This is probably the contact that most of us have had with them at one time or another, but it is by no means the only possibility for problems. Rules governing pedestrians, cycles, signs, animals, truck routes, loading zones, parades and even speeds may be set in this legislation.
The most important guideline for traffic bylaws is that they must not be inconsistent with Part 3 of the Motor Vehicle Act. Part 3 establishes what we would call the rules of the road, speeds, stopping at stop signs, following highway lines and the like. For example, a bylaw would be inconsistent if it allowed you to do something that Part 3 forbids.
How do you find out about the traffic bylaws of your municipality or one that you travel in regularly? The Internet is my first stop as most if not all municipalities have their bylaws online today. Bylaws may also be viewed at the municipal hall and the advice of bylaw enforcement sought there as well. Finally, your local library may also be a good source for this information.
For more information about this topic, visit www.drivesmartbc.ca. Questions or comments are welcome by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Tim Schewe is a retired RCMP constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. His column appears Thursdays.