Keeping Cyclists and Pedestrians Safer Could Involve Banning Right Turns on Red Lights

November 03, 2020, Kitchener, Ontario

Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer

Black Traffic LightRight turns on red lights (RTOR) became fashionable in the 1970s in part to save energy by not idling at red lights. Once adopted there was a marked increase in collisions. RTORs are in the news once again as politicians and road safety experts and advocates try to work out how cars, bicycles and pedestrians can share the roads more safely. Canada and the USA are anomalies in the developed world allowing RTOR in most jurisdictions. Montreal and New York State are exceptions.

Turning right on red lights is a well known and acknowledged safety issue. Drivers are distracted, tired, or simply inattentive and collisions with those not in cars are altogether too frequent. Sadly, when cars strike cyclists or pedestrians it doesn’t matter who is to blame, the person without a car is always more seriously injured.

In large urban centres pedestrians face cars creeping into the crosswalks trying to turn right. Cyclists often are hit when drivers don’t see them beside the car as they turn right. Bad driving in cars is common, bad cycling is too. Distracted cycling, driving and walking are all too common. What is the solution then to making cycling and walking in urban areas safer? Drivers who are eager to get going are focussed on cars approaching from the left and often miss pedestrians and cyclists in the intersections.

One easy step toward making the roads safer is by making drivers do a better job of taking note of their surroundings. Canadians known for their politeness are also facing criticism for being some of the worst drivers in the world. Speeding, distracted driving, carelessness, lack of signalling, and tailgating are just some criticisms.

Local safety advocates have gone on record advocating for more enforcement of road rules, more driver retesting, lowering of speed limits and ending right turns on red lights.

Slowing drivers down encourages them to look around themselves more. It reduces conflicts between drivers and cyclists and pedestrians. Taking note of who is on the road, in the bike lanes, on the sidewalks and in the crosswalks will result in fewer accidents. It also results in fewer fatal collisions when vulnerable road users are hit.



Posted under Accident Benefit News, Automobile Accident Benefits, Bicycle Accidents, Pedestrian Accidents

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