Dear Cop - U-Turns

Q. I have seen at least one section of road in Kelowna where there is a "u-turns not" sign shortly followed by a "u turns permitted". This implies that U turns are permitted except within this zone. The one of note is by North Glenmore elementary. On Gordon, near Mountain there is a short break in the median where a U section of road is that is often used by people for U turns. I occasionally see someone, usually with Alberta plates, doing U turns in major intersections. This implies to me that U turns are permitted. What are the rules and regulations around U turns, and are these rules specific to Kelowna or BC?. I usually avoid them as I thought them illegal.

A. U-Turns are a largely misunderstood driving maneuver. The Motor Vehicle Act refers to u-turns as reverse turns. The law is quite explicit.

Reverse turn
Section 168 of the Motor Vehicle Act indicates that except as provided by the bylaws of a municipality, a driver must not turn a vehicle so as to proceed in the opposite direction
(a) unless the driver can do so without interfering with other traffic, or,
(b) when he or she is driving
(i) on a curve,
(ii) on an approach to or near the crest of a grade where the vehicle cannot be seen by the driver of another vehicle approaching from either direction within 150 m,
(iii) at a place where a sign prohibits making a U-turn,
(iv) at an intersection where a traffic control signal has been erected, or
(v) in a business district, except at an intersection where no traffic control signal has been erected.

Constable R.A.(Richard) ASELTON
Central Okanagan Traffic Services - Media Liaison
Kelowna R.C.M.P. Detachment

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Tim Schewe is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. He has been writing his column for most of the 20 years of his service in the RCMP.

The column was 'The Beat Goes On' in Fort St. John, 'Traffic Tips' in the South Okanagan and now 'Behind the Wheel' on Vancouver Island and here on Castanet.net.

Schewe retired from the force in January of 2006, but the column has become a habit, and continues.

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