Would you believe me if I told you that the positioning of a stop sign at an intersection has nothing to do with where you must stop? Yes, the sign tells you that you must stop, but the markings on the roadway, or lack of them, tell you where the stop has to take place. There are four possibilities for a driver to consider.
The first possibility is where there is a marked stop line. You must stop at the marked stop line according to the Motor Vehicle Act and just before the line according to Learn to Drive Smart, our provincial driving manual. Either case requires the stop to be made reasonably close to the line, but not on or after it.
The next possibility is when a crosswalk is painted on the roadway without a stop line. Both rule books describe this situation identically requiring that you stop just before entering the crosswalk. Pedestrians must not have to detour around the front of your vehicle when they are walking within the boundaries of the crosswalk.
The third possibility requires a bit more observation and thought on the part of the driver who must identify and deal with the unmarked crosswalk. The courts have taken a very broad view in case law on the definition of a crosswalk. While a concrete or paved sidewalk is obvious by its presence any “improvement” of the shoulder used by pedestrians may not be. The sidelines of these improvements must be extended across the roadway and treated like the marked crosswalk.
The final possibility considers the instance where there are no markings at all on the roadway. Drivers must stop at the point nearest the intersecting highway from which the driver has a view of approaching traffic on the intersecting highway. Since traffic includes cyclists and pedestrians in addition to motor vehicles, this sounds suspiciously close to the circumstances in the third situation.
Tim Schewe is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. To comment or learn more, please visit drivesmartbc.ca