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Traffic Lights - What does amber mean?

14 January 2021 193,880 views 2 Comments

Many people are confused about what to do when the light turns yellow.  In practice it seems many people view this as a “hurry up” light and race to get through the intersection before the light turns red. This is when collisions happen. Yellow means “start stopping”. The transition from yellow to red takes the indecision out of when to stop. How many times have you seen someone try to squeeze through on a stale yellow on an advance left turn, only to have their path blocked by pedestrians stepping off the curb when the light turns green and the walk sign come on? Then opposing traffic is blocked and you have grid-lock. Under the Motor Vehicle Act, Fail to Stop for Yellow Light at Intersection is Section 128(1)(A) and Fail to Stop for Red Light at Intersection is Section 129(1). They both have the same penalty - $167, as does Section 130(2)(A)(ii) Fail to Stop for Yellow Arrow at Intersection. All three will net you two points.

Putting This Into Practice:
How does this apply to scooter riders in the real world? Scooters, because of their light weight and manoeuvrability, can out stop a car or truck by a considerable margin. As a scooter rider, you have to be aware of your surroundings, who’s behind you, and road conditions. If, after reading this article, you slam on your brakes at the first hint of a yellow light without first checking your rear view mirrors, you may end up as a hood ornament on the large pickup truck behind you whose driver is late for work. You can comply with the law without risking life and limb. The key is to be clear in your intentions and predictable in your actions. A police officer is much more likely to ticket the last person going through an orange light than the first.

**Editors note: This article was written by Constable Chris Goudie of the Oak Bay Police Department in British Columbia Canada. The specific laws and fines cited apply to British Columbia. Other jurisdictions have similar rules.

If you have other questions or comments about traffic safety for riders, let us know in your comments and we will see that we post articles to clear up any confusion.

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