Drive left of centre - on a curve 149(1)(a)

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Joined: Sat Aug 31, 2013 1:53 pm

Drive left of centre - on a curve 149(1)(a)

by: BlackObs on
Sat Aug 31, 2013 2:36 pm

The situation: driving on a 2-lane highway (CR 45 east of Orillia), behind an SUV that was fluctuating between 70 and 80 (in a marked 80). I had been waiting for a safe opportunity to pass. We were on the outside of a shallow curve when the SUV began to signal and move right, presumably to make a right turn just after the exit of the curve. As we were more than halfway through the curve and the SUV had by this point crossed the white line and started pulling onto the shoulder.

The smartest thing to do would have been to just wait for the SUV to pull all the way out of the lane and continue on. But weather and road conditions were both good, and due to being on the outside lane of the curve and the vehicle in front of me being halfway off the road, I had full visibility of (the lack of) oncoming traffic for nearly a kilometer, and was able to pass safely. In fact, the only thing I couldn't see was the OPP cruiser sitting along the side road, as the SUV I was passing was between the cruiser and I until the passing maneuver was nearly complete. When the officer walked up to my window, he informed me that it was a very dangerous curve and that my speed wasn't an issue, but the passing maneuver was. This led to the citation in my thread title and an explanation of my response options.

I am inclined to take a trial option (despite living in Ottawa and the court being in Barrie), not because the $110 fine is burdensome or I'm worried about the insurance implications of the 3 demerits (they'll be the first I've ever received), but because I fully believe that my passing maneuver was safe. And that seems to be the determining factor, because from the cited act section:
149. (1) No vehicle shall be driven or operated to the left of the centre of a roadway designed for one or more lines of traffic in each direction,
(a) when approaching the crest of a grade or upon a curve in the roadway or within 30 metres of a bridge, viaduct or tunnel where the drivers view is obstructed within that distance so as to create a potential hazard in the event another vehicle might approach from the opposite direction
I can understand how, from the officer's vantage point, the passing maneuver might have seemed unsafe; he didn't see me until I was almost finished passing, and had no way of knowing when I started to pass and what I could (or could not) see. I would intend to show the court an overhead satellite image of the location from Google Maps (showing that there are no roadside trees, houses, or anything that would have obstructed my view of the entire curve or road on the far side). I also intend to travel the same route on my way back home and stop to take a photo standing exactly where I made the pass, showing just how extensive my lines of visibility were at the time I made the passing maneuver.

It could well be that that some history of accidents makes that a "dangerous" curve, but from the perspective of someone who's never traveled before it, nothing about that area made my passing maneuver unsafe under the section of the HTA with which I was charged. So I've been reading up here and at about the process. I know to request disclosure, but not sure how (enclose the request when I mail in my ticket response to the City of Barrie, or mail it separately to... the same place?); hopefully as I continue to research that will become clear.

Mainly I'm looking for input on the above, both my intended approach (can I bring exhibits to trial? I assume I can and might just need to provide a copy to the Crown in advance) and the situation itself. Obviously I know my position on the subject, but it would be helpful to know other viewpoints. Forewarned is forearmed, and all that.

Thanks in advance!
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