19 Sep Left-Turning Vehicle

In Riley v. Ritsco, 2017 BCSC 925, the Court considered liability between a left-turning vehicle and a straight-through driver.


Ms. Tones and her passenger, the Plaintiff Riley, were travelling straight through an intersection on the Lougheed Highway at 216th Street.  Ms. Tones entered the intersection on a green light.  She saw the Defendant’s vehicle in the oncoming left turn lane.  Ms. Tones continued through the intersection because she had a green light.  Approximately 15 feet from the intersection, the Defendant’s vehicle started to turn in front of her vehicle.  She braked but could not do anything else to avoid the collision.


The Court found that Ms. Tones approached the intersection at 70 – 80 km/hour.  Although this was above the posted speed limit, the Court found this was the speed at which other vehicles in the intersection usually travel.


The Defendant argued that Ms. Tones should not have entered the intersection because she saw his vehicle entering the dedicated left-turn lane.  The Court rejected this argument.  She entered the intersection lawfully, on a green light, after she saw the Defendant’s vehicle in the left turn lane.


The Court held that the Defendant failed to determine whether it was safe to turn before he started to turn.  Seeing his vehicle in the left turn lane did not require Ms. Tones to reduce her speed.  She was entitled to assume that the Defendant would not start to turn until her vehicle cleared the intersection.  The Court found the Defendant at fault.