This Common Traffic Rule Must Go Away

Right-on-red is too dangerous for bicyclists, writes 'Outside' columnist
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted May 10, 2019 2:20 PM CDT
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(Newser) – A columnist at Outside is making an argument that may not sit well with drivers—he says it's time to outlaw right-on-red turns. The reason? They're simply too dangerous for bicyclists, writes Eben Weiss. He cites an accident in Virginia that made headlines last month in which a police cruiser turning right on red struck a bicyclist, and the bicyclist ended up being charged with "failure to pay full time and attention." Weiss writes that the bicyclist's main offense was entering the intersection against the pedestrian signal. (Police say he was also going the wrong way, against traffic.) But what was he supposed to do? He's at an intersection with signals for drivers and pedestrians, and he is neither.

"It’s a scenario every cyclist is familiar with: having to choose the lesser of two evils in a hostile environment," writes Weiss. "So he chooses the green traffic light and BLAMMO!" Traffic laws should ideally protect the most vulnerable, but most injuries after right-on-red accidents are to bicyclists and pedestrians, writes Weiss, who wants us to go back to the days when a red light meant stop, period. In the US, unfortunately, "laws that exist for driver convenience put cyclists in danger," he writes. "Meanwhile, the things we have to do to stay alive because of that convenience are often illegal. It’s a complete right-wrong inversion." Click to read the full column. (Read more bicycling stories.)

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