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May 06, 2009


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Question: Is it illegal in Ontario to go through a red at all times. Eg. You sat there for 10 minutes waiting for a green, it hasn't happened but there's no traffic in sight, so you safely proceed through the intersection regardless?

I've never been able to get a definitive answer on that.

Oh and I don't mind not turning right on reds as long as pedestrians (and cyclists on the sidewalk) can't cross during the green light. There's nothing worse than sitting though an entire green light because of pedestrian traffic and then still being unable to turn on the right. I've experienced this on really busy intersections.

Gotta love them laws that legislate traffic jams and gridlock. Might as well just shut the city down. Same effect.

Mike T.

Yeah Jim, how come it's the people who can't THINK that get to change the laws? I remember sending you a pic last month of where they keep their heads.
My son lives in Montreal and he thinks that it would be chaos if they ALLOWED right turns on red in that city. His reasoning is that most of the Montrealers can't drive anyway. No point in confusing them even more eh? When I visit Montreal it seems such a stupid waste of time and resources when I'm sitting there with NO good reason NOT to make a right on red. Sometimes I just do because I can.


I find both parties are at fault here. Pedestrians and Drivers.

Drivers, I see a lot of them are not checking blindspots...and well a lot of are distracted doing something such as cellphone, makeup, food...etc.

As for pedestrians, assuming the same rule us motorcycle riders have: "you're invisible and everything is out to get you". I am a motorcycle rider and our first rule is to assume that nothing is safe, and because we're surrounded by cars all the time, that we can become road pizza easily. Therefore Pedestrians must understand that if a car is coming at you, you need to look the driver in the eyes to make sure the driver sees you before stepping out. If you cannot see his eyes or his attention is not on you, it's not likely the driver knows you're there. Cars are bigger, if they are in a hurry, let it go before you get squished.

Also for Pedestrians, OBEY YOUR Signals. Countless times I have encountered pedestrians crossing when their signal is red. I have also seen people not starting to leave one side of the side walk until the RED HAND is flashing. That flashing is for a good reason. It allows Pedestrians to safely get out of the road so left turning cars can go. Drivers who let pedestrians run out in front of them because they are going for a bus is doing it out of kindness and more likely to preserve their license by not collecting a pedestrian on their bumper.

Come on people! Drivers and pedestrians, work together. It's not difficult. When we're kids, we're taught rules, logic, and most importantly manners! Please apply some care and consideration, then we won't have our wonderfully mismanaged government imposing bad laws.

BTW, if we're not allowed to turn Right on Reds, it means we'll be idling and emitting more pollution per trip. How does Mr. Miller and McGuinty fit that into their green initiatives?

Crash Corrigan

I'm with you 100% on this one Jim!

Coming from the UK, and not being able to turn right (Or Left as it would be) on a red when I visit there is something which I greatly miss. Mind you, the UK has fewer traffic lights than we do (comparing London to Toronto), and more "Give way" signs which we should be replacing our stop signs with, and plenty of those wonderful roundabouts.

What's wrong with Toronto? Being able to turn on a red speeds up traffic flow no end, and isn't that what we should be aiming to archive?

I have a suggestion for them...If they really are concerned about pedestrians, why not make them wear airbags, and while we're at it...if someone wants to ride a bicycle on the road, maybe that should require an airbag also, plus a cycling proficiency test, a license plate, and above all...an insurance certificate!!

Greg H

Jim, this proposal makes no sense. To me it does the exact opposite of the intention; to protect pedestrians. When the light is red, the cars can safely turn right, without fear of hitting pedestrians, because said pedestrians should still be waiting on the corner. Once the light is green, off the pedestrians go, so now we have both people and cars occupying the same space, with a lot higher chance of collision.

In my mind, the more cars that turn right on the GREEN, the higher the chances of a collision with a pedestrian.

The situation is exacerbated by some pedestrians that talk on their cell as they're walking, and just like drivers, they're not entirely paying attention.



SO right.

As for whether it is illegal to eventually got through a red in Ontario, it reminds me (surprise) of the old joke about the Canadian who froze to death because the "Don't Walk" sign was stuck on.

Any literal reading of Ontario's Highway Traffic Act would make it illegal to run a red, regardless. I'd hope that in a case like that, the cop would see the illogic of that; if not, that a Justice of the Peace would.



Hi Rick:

Good points here, especially the one about pollution while idling which I had intended to mention in the original blog posting but forgot!

Cooperation between drivers, bikeys (powered and otherwise) and pedestrians is indeed the ideal.

What we need from the governments and police is a set of laws that enables that cooperation, and which follows the principles of common sense and logic.

Which clearly does NOT include a ban on right turns on red lights!



Hi Crash:

One of the reasons given for Europe not allowing rights on reds is that their narrow streets, often connecting at other than right angles, makes intersections more dangerous.

But as you say, more frequent use of Yields as opposed to Stops, and of course the deliriously clever roundabout - another traffic control marvel most of our city fathers continue to ignore - make rights on reds largely moot.



Hi Greg:

Couldn't have said it better myself.

In fact, I didn't!

You are exactly correct.

Why is this so obvious from our chairs, and so hard to see from
David Miller's?


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