How and when you can use them
By Brittney MacDonald, Life & Style Editor
This may come as a shock to you, but traffic laws in Vancouver seem to change at the drop of a hat. They’re constantly being adapted in an attempt to either keep up with changing technology, or just to make everything flow easier. This continual flux can make things very confusing for drivers. I mean, let’s be honest, after we drop that “N,” how many of us are really going to keep up with what’s going on in the streets—so to speak.
In an effort to rid us of some of the confusion, I decided to look into some of the little known amendments to the traffic laws that have been made in recent years, mostly regarding the HOV lane. Yes, that highly sought after temptress; the fast track to wherever you need to go. But what do you need to gain access to it, without risking the flashing red and blues in your rear-view mirror?
HOV is an acronym for “high occupancy vehicle,” so naturally you need more than one person in your car to use it. The number of people required at this point in time in BC is two, one driver and one passenger—that’s the minimum. In some places it does differ, and in some states within the US the minimum is three people, so try to keep informed if you’ll be traveling.
Some exceptions to this rule are motorcycles, and, of course, emergency vehicles. Recently, there has also been a change that allows certain low emission cars and trucks to also use the lane. This means that if you have a hybrid or electric car, you might qualify for a decal that will allow you access, regardless of how many people you may or may not be travelling with. If your car is battery-electric or a plug-in hybrid then it qualifies; unfortunately, any hybrid vehicle that doesn’t plug into an external power source does not. All of this was done as part of BC’s Clean Energy Vehicle Program, which is a government effort to offer more incentives for residents to go green.
If you have any questions, or think your car might qualify but you weren’t sent a decal, you can contact the government office.