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Rules to over take street car?
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 29, 2009 3:12 pm 
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I was driving down Dundas earlier today, and I was driving to a stop light on the right lane. There was only one car at the stop light on my lane. There was also a street car on the left lane 4 or 5 cars back from the stop light. Totally unexpected, the street car driver opened the door the moment I passed the back door when I was still driving 25 or km/h. I knew I couldn't stop in time, so I went right through. Few seconds later, the street car driver came out of the street car and started banging on my window. I opened the door, and he started swearing at me. I said sorry, and he continued for another few profanity before he went back to the street car.

No cops around, so no tickets. But I'm curious to know who's right and who's wrong here? I personally don't think I did anything wrong. If I were to stop, I would have been slamming on my brake. Shouldn't the street car driver check for his blind spot before opening the door?????

Thanks!!


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 29, 2009 3:44 pm 
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Location: In YOUR rearview mirror!
HTA section
166. (1) Where a person in charge of a vehicle or on a bicycle or on horseback or leading a horse on a highway overtakes a street car or a car of an electric railway, operated in or near the centre of the roadway, which is stationary for the purpose of taking on or discharging passengers, he or she shall not pass the car or approach nearer than 2 metres measured back from the rear or front entrance or exit, as the case may be, of the car on the side on which passengers are getting on or off until the passengers have got on or got safely to the side of the street, as the case may be, but this subsection does not apply where a safety zone has been set aside and designated by a by-law passed under section 9, 10 or 11 of the Municipal Act, 2001 or under section 7 or 8 of the City of Toronto Act, 2006, as the case may be. 2006, c. 32, Sched. C, s. 24 (6).

Prohibition as to passing street cars on left-hand side

(2) No person in charge of a vehicle or on a bicycle or on horseback or leading a horse, overtaking a street car or the car of an electric railway, operated in or near the centre of the roadway, which is stationary or in motion, shall pass on the left side of the car, having reference to the direction in which the car is travelling, or where the street car or car of an electric railway is being operated on a highway designated for the use of one-way traffic

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Above is merely a suggestion/thought and in no way constitutes legal advice or views of my employer. www.OHTA.ca


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 29, 2009 3:47 pm 
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Thanks, moderator. I did read that. The traffic act is not very specific for the purpose of my question ...

"...which is stationary for the purpose of taking on or discharging passengers"

I didn't know the street car intended to discharge passengers until it opened the doors. (Unlike school bus, no flashing light) I was already in the process of passing the street car. Whose fault is it?


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 29, 2009 8:56 pm 
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I tend to stop behind the doors whenever a streetcar is close to a streetcar stop. If the doors are already open or if it is clearly stopped for passengers, then I stop before the rear of the streetcar. I'm not sure what the interpretation of the law is for your particular situation, but profanity is uncalled-for. If something similar happens in the future, call Transit Control Emergency at 416-393-3555 and have them listen in. Non-Emergency for us was 393-3444, but I'm not sure if you would also call that to file a complaint after the fact.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 29, 2009 10:20 pm 
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Thanks Squishy. I live uptown, and I rarely drive in downtown. I just don't know where are all the street car stops are. I really regret not getting that driver's license plate or ID. Otherwise, I would complain as you suggested..


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 12:16 am 
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which is stationary for the purpose of taking on or discharging passengers, he or she shall not pass the car or approach nearer than 2 metres measured back from

it did not sound like the streetcar was stopped?


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 12:34 am 
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The street car was fully stopped. But I don't drive in downtown much. I don't know where all the streetcar stations are. And I thought I'm supposed to stop ONLY when the streetcar doors get opened. Assuming that is correct, the streetcar driver should check whether there's any fastly approaching traffic before opening the door. Isn't that right?


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 2:08 am 
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The question is whether it would be reasonable to assume from the position of the streetcar that it was stopping to pick up or let off passengers, instead of simply waiting for a red light. Most streetcar stops seem to be 1-2 car lengths from the stop line instead of 4-5. It sounds like this streetcar was stopped away from the TTC sign and wanted to save time by letting off passengers while it was waiting for a light. I feel that, with the doors still closed, a reasonable person would assume that the streetcar was simply waiting for the light to change so that it could proceed to its designated stop, especially someone not regularly in the downtown area. In this scenario, I also agree that it is the responsibility of the streetcar operator to ensure passengers are not put at risk by opening the doors. However, the courts may feel differently, I don't know.

If the streetcar was stopped at a TTC sign, then always assume it is going to open its doors. I don't even move forward once the doors close, in case there is a slow passenger on board. I do see other cars drive forward once the doors close, though, and that seems to be legal within the wording of the HTA.

When I worked at TTC, drivers were discouraged from opening their doors near but not at a stop, but I don't think it was prohibited. They were just prohibited from opening the doors when there was no stop nearby, for liability reasons (aside from those special midnight busses).

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 2:17 am 
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Hi Squishy. Thanks for response.

So, your interpretation of the law is that a driver should be looking for some type of street car station signage on the side of the road rather than the doors on the street car? Is this reasonable? I never pay attention to street car station signage. I don't even know how they look like. Nor do I believe they are pronounced enough for the drivers to see.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 3:12 am 
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The HTA states that you must stop two metres behind the doors of a streetcar which is "stationary for the purpose of taking on or discharging passengers". An open door is a good indication of that, but I would also argue that a streetcar stopped in front of a TTC streetcar sign is also a good indication that passengers are being let on and let off. Streetcar stops are signed the same way as bus stops, except there is a picture of a streetcar on the sign. I can see them clearly from the car; they have to be pronounced enough for TTC drivers to see.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 3:21 am 
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Squishy wrote:
The HTA states that you must stop two metres behind the doors of a streetcar which is "stationary for the purpose of taking on or discharging passengers". An open door is a good indication of that, but I would also argue that a streetcar stopped in front of a TTC streetcar sign is also a good indication that passengers are being let on and let off. Streetcar stops are signed the same way as bus stops, except there is a picture of a streetcar on the sign. I can see them clearly from the car; they have to be pronounced enough for TTC drivers to see.


Again, just my opinion, but I don't think it is reasonable for drivers to look for TTC streetcar station signage, nor are drivers trained to do so. (i.e. not in driver's handbook) And I would assume a TTC driver would know where every stations are, or at least in approximations of them.

However, if you are telling me that a driver should approach every stopped street car slowly assuming the doors can open at any time, I can accept this as my fault. But I don't remember reading this in the driver's handbook either.

Edit: (Just found the following image on google. It's the width of a light pole. )

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 10:51 pm 
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There is a 2-3 inch orange light (top right of back of car)
They are supposed to flash this when about to stop.
I noticed the king car using it today.

This light is not known by all (for it's purpose) but that is what it is for.

Not sure how you could see it from where you were.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 01, 2009 12:48 am 
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Hey Viper..

Wow... really. The incident happened on Dundas near Parliament street, I think. I didn't see the flashing lights, but perhaps I've missed it because I didn't know they were there for the purpose you stated. I'll pay more attention next time. How many seconds does it flash before doors get opened?


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 01, 2009 9:40 am 
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avonord wrote:
Hey Viper..

Wow... really. The incident happened on Dundas near Parliament street, I think. I didn't see the flashing lights, but perhaps I've missed it because I didn't know they were there for the purpose you stated. I'll pay more attention next time. How many seconds does it flash before doors get opened?


I don't think every street-car driver uses it.
Flash was the wrong word, the driver is supposed to turn it on when
he is going to open the doors. (fair warning to cars.)

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 01, 2009 2:37 pm 
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This was a common problem on Lakeshore Blvd West from Kipling all the way to Parklawn. You never knew when the driver would stop because of traffic, or stop because it was "close enough" to the stop. It seemed as though the streetcar drivers would not consider that drivers cannot anticipate them letting off passengers in live lanes AWAY from the stops 100% of the time. They would let them off when traffic was heavy and they were 5 car lengths from the stop, right when the right lane was moving, in rush hour. I lived in the area for 15 years and saw this constantly. It was so random that I would get very nervous when I got into that position and was driving near a streetcar. I still would get nervous. I never saw that downtown, having worked there and having taken the King or Queen streetcar for 11 years as well. For some reason, that stretch of Lakeshore was always bad.


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