I was driving southbound on Morningside Rd. in Scarborough towards centennial college at 820am. As I was approaching the the Morningside and Tams Road intersection, there are two signs on the right before the intersection that said it is right turn lane. So I assumed it was safe to turn right. As I got closer to the intersection, the car in front of me turned right, so I turned right as well to take a short cut. And that was where I got pulled over by a cop. The sign was prohibited right turn between 7-9am mon-fri.
I did not see the one sign on the right side in time because it was being blocked by a light pole from a distance, it was only visible by the time I reached the pedestrian cross walk but I only caught a glimpse of it because I was conducting a blind side check before turning. Furthermore, I could not just stomp on the brakes because there was someone tailgating me and that person was pulled over, as well. I could not have just switched lanes at an intersection because there was traffic / unsafe (Defence of Necessity)
The other sign that was hung from the traffic light was obscured from view because there was a bus in the lane to my left as it was bus route, too.
I have trial and requested disclosure, how should I approach my trial? The disclosure just had the officer's notes on the conditions of the day and where the signs were posted and he said he saw me make the prohibited right turn. This part doesn't make sense to me because he could not have seen me, he was busy giving out a ticket to the guy who turned before me while another cop had to stop me and tell me to wait for my turn. Unless my memory is really failing me but 100% there were two cops.
Can I argue that the sign was obscured until I reached the pedestrian cross walk and the safest option was to make the right turn since changing lanes at the intersection is dangerous and that the car behind me was tailgating? Also adding that I was new to the area and saw the 2 signs stating it is a right turn lane and the car ahead also turned right? Or FLSA (this would be a last resort since I heard mixed opinions on it)
Can you approach the cop or prosector before trial to ask for a lesser charge? I will take a by-law section 39-1. Can I bring this up during trial?
I'm so nervous and freaking out. I just don't want my insurance to spike cause then I don't think I can afford it. Thanks for the help in advance!
- It's not a defence that another moving vehicle blocked your vision of the sign. No turn signs in an intersection are placed adjacent to the signal head. If you didn't see the sign, you didn't see the lights either. So are you proceeding through intersections blindly? That's the type of questions that will be asked of you.
- It's not your duty to maintain a safe distance with the vehicle behind you.
- It doesn't matter that the person in front of you also turned.
- It's irrelevant the area is new to you. Every street was once new to you. Even old streets change their signs. It's not a defence assume signage hasn't changed either.
- This was not an action out of necessity. Other options were available to you (e.g. merge back into the left lane). If there was a disabled vehicle at the end of the right turn, what would you do?
So, you are in a legally designated right turn lane where you can't turn right at certain times of the day. Even though the signs at the intersection are visible from a distance away, there probably should be some advance notice signs to give motorists a chance to vacate the lane. The reason for this is that once you get to the intersection either move you make contravenes of one of the regulatory signs. If you turn right, you violate the 7 to 9 am turn prohibition. If you go through the intersection, you've violated the right turn lane designation (unless your a bus).
One comment to the OP: I believe that your insurance would only consider this "minor" so unless you have other tickets on your record the impact on your premium could be negligible. Check with your provider. You would need to weigh the value of your time to fight it vs. the cost of the ticket.
Based on what @billiards15 said, at the pre-trial check-in with the prosecutor you might be able to use the conflicting signage as sufficient ammunition to entice the prosecutor to go for a plea to a bylaw infraction vs. the hassle of a trial.
Waiting for the best and brightest to weigh in...
If I were to take the opposite position, i'd say the last sign supersedes the previous one. If you can't turn, the road is essentially closed and merge as need be back into traffic. The right turn can't be completed as intended.
Still a bit harsh though either way.
Hopefully some others can chime in.
I suspect that the turn prohibition is a "traffic calming" measure as there is a through movement ban for the same time frame on the adjacent lane. I didn't look to see if there was a left turn ban the other way. This is really tough as it's contrary to what drivers would typically expect.
I also wonder how often it's enforced. I know the rules are the rules, but if it's enforced very infrequently, it really undermines the intent of the prohibition.
I don't know if any of what I wrote helps. Ultimately they violated the prohibition. I just don't like seeing, what appears to be, conflicting messages on roadways.
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