Washington DC Says You Can't Turn Right On A Red Anymore

Government / 18 Comments

The measure is intended to better protect pedestrians after a rash of traffic deaths.

Washington, DC legislators have announced that the district will eliminate right turns at red lights in almost all cases starting in 2025.

According to legislators, the idea is to keep pedestrians from being hit by a car and not about eliminating options for navigating traffic. With large trucks, SUVs, and crossovers being so popular, one can see why pedestrians need extra protection from something like a Ford F-150.

The measure was passed under the Safer Streets Amendment Act of 2022, proposed this year, and passed by DC's council early in October. It's part of a broader package of safety measures. These measures fall under what the DC calls the "Vision Zero" initiative.

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Vision Zero is a bold initiative in place by Washington, DC, which states that by 2024, the district will reach "zero fatalities and serious injuries to travelers of our transportation system, through more effective use of data, education, enforcement, and engineering." Interestingly, Ann Arbor, Michigan, has implemented a similar ban this year, eliminating right-on-red turns at 50 intersections.

The measure is intended to protect pedestrians, as the District of Columbia has suffered an uptick in traffic fatalities over the last year. On top of that, DC's new legislation will institute something called the "Idaho Stop," per Washingtonian.

The Idaho stop is again intended to protect pedestrians. In states where the measure is legal, cyclists are to treat a stop sign as a yield sign and a red light as a stop sign. It will also keep folks from jumping a red light, as they're allowed to yield instead.

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Currently, eight states, including Idaho and Colorado, allow the measure. However, DC says it will allow the Idaho Stop at stop signs and that it will be allowed at red lights only in certain situations and where posted. It's not clear what those situations are just yet.

The Safer Streets Amendment, proposed by Mary Cheh, chair of the D.C. Council's Committee on Transportation and the Environment, will increase registration fees for cars over 6,000 pounds to $500 per year.

Vision Zero isn't a new initiative and, like so many others, was pioneered by the Swedes in the 1990s. We'll see if the right-on-red measure helps or hurts D.C. and if it continues to spread to more states.

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Source Credits: Washingtonian

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