October 20, 2004

No Left Turn

English no left turn sign CBC news reports that a justice of the peace threw out Jennifer Myers' ticket for illegally turning left on the grounds that the sign was written only in English, in violation of bilingualism legislation.Whether or not this has any larger consequences remains to be seen as the decision of a justice of the peace pertains only to the case at hand and does not set precedent. The city of Toronto plans to appeal the decision.

Ms.Myers' argument was that the no-left-turn sign had no legal effect because it was not bilingual. She could not argue that it violated her rights - she does not speak French. Some services are expensive to provide in more than one language, but in this case, there is a simple alternative:

International no left turn sign

Update: As one reader has pointed out, the languageless solution doesn't work if the ban on left turns is only on certain days of the week, or if other limitations, such as "without permit", must be expressed.

Further update: It turns out that the Toronto left turn sign in question actually was of the international variety; the problem was the use of English abbreviations for the days of the week. Here is a typical Toronto no-left-turn sign:

typical Toronto no left turn sign
Posted by Bill Poser at October 20, 2004 01:40 PM