RED LIGHT TURNS HAVE ALWAYS BEEN HAZARDOUS FOR PEDESTRIANS
It hasn’t always been legal to turn right on a red light. In some places, it still isn’t. However, back in the 1970s, the idea gained a lot of momentum, and now it’s common to be able to turn right when a light is red unless there is a sign instructing you not to do so.
One issue that seems to go overlooked, though, is that this is and always has been dangerous for pedestrians. When drivers turn right on a red, pedestrians may have a walking symbol on the street onto which the cars are turning. The car then turns through the crosswalk.
Of course, drivers are technically supposed to check for pedestrians before they turn, but many just look at the cross traffic in the street. They also may look for people who are walking without seeing faster-moving pedestrians, such as people who are out for a run or riding a bike.
So, how big of an issue has this been? It was studied in the 1980s, after right turns on red lights had been legal for roughly a decade. What was found was that accidents with pedestrians in these situations went up by a full 60 percent.
Later studies found the same issue. While a right turn on red doesn’t result in an accident very often—just 0.4 percent of the crashes at intersections with signals—the percentage of those crashes that involve cyclists and pedestrians is strikingly high, at 22 percent. Additionally, stats show that the vast majority of these accidents result in injuries to those pedestrians.
If you’ve been hurt, you may be able to seek compensation in Pennsylvania.
Source: Where The Sidewalk Starts, “Are Right Turns on Red Dangerous for Pedestrians?,” accessed Jan. 20, 2016