Who’s on Second? Right on Red?

I often tell my fellow bike riders in Sioux Falls, you must ALWAYS ride defensively. Why? Because like there is bad golfers and bad fisherman, there are bad drivers. Sure, if some of these people would put down their cheese burgers, stop yelling at their kids or put down the cell phone, they may be better. But I can’t change that. And little white signs can’t change that either.

Many people are still butt hurt that the red light traffic light cameras were taken down. “Don’t you understand? Someone died.” Yes, ONE person died because ONE other person was a careless driver. My assumption is that careless driver was charged with a crime. So why punish the rest of us who are good drivers, or good pedestrians or good bicyclists?

The cameras were essentially taken down because they were not photographing the license plate with the driver, so there was constitutional law stuff going on.

But either way, as I have always understood it, whether there is a camera, a light or a sign, state law permits you to turn right on red AS LONG AS you come to a full stop, and yield in both directions before proceeeding. I have never waited for a light to turn green before turning right on red and I have never caused an accident or ran over anybody. Why, because I follow the very simple law of stopping and yielding before proceeding.

Yes it is tragic that pedestrians and bicyclists get ran over and die from reckless drivers, but why punish the good drivers for their crimes?



11 comments ↓

#1 The D@ily Spin on 08.31.17 at 10:39 am

And another thing: One must be faced by your accuser. A cop must give you a ticket in person. When a camera decides, you’ll get all sorts of photo shop fines in your snail mail.
It’s enough that they can plant more than an ounce of pot and seize your car. Let’s not let them attack our assets with mail fraud schemes.

#2 matt johnson on 08.31.17 at 2:55 pm

bikers have the right to use the roads and drivers should watch out for them; but not all bike riders follow the rules- they dart into traffic; they ride on sidewalks and fail to walk across intersections as required,

#3 l3wis on 08.31.17 at 3:54 pm

Yup. That’s why all parties must be safe and follow the rules, not just car drivers.

#4 Anthony Renli on 08.31.17 at 4:37 pm

I agree with much of what you say except – in South Dakota per state law 32-28-4, right turns on red are legal unless a local ordnance says they are illegal.
If there is a sign, and a local city ordnance that makes right turn on red illegal, then that explicitly does override state law per the writing of the state law.

http://sdlegislature.gov/Statutes/Codified_Laws/DisplayStatute.aspx?Type=Statute&Statute=32-28-4

So – if there is a no turn on red sign, it is almost certanly illegal to turn on red.

#5 anonymous on 08.31.17 at 4:54 pm

NEVER seen a bicyclist stop at a red light or a stop sign when there is no cross (car) traffic….

#6 Zach DeBoer on 08.31.17 at 4:56 pm

I think there’s a difference in ‘punishments’. In your scenario, the ‘good driver’ is being punished by having to wait 22 seconds at a light. Whereas the ‘punishment’ for the pedestrian could be their life.

It’s much easier to change the law or the street than it is to change human behavior.

#7 l3wis on 08.31.17 at 5:26 pm

Oh, there is punishments. Even if you stop at the red light but don’t yield to a pedestrian and hit them you could spend several years in prison, face mulitple fines. And if you injure someone seriously, you could be faced with paying their medical expenses for life, or if you kill them you could face a civil suit in which you could up millions. It goes back to what I am saying originally, you can only legislate bad drivers so much. Maybe we should be looking at the root of the problem? Is it distracted driving? Maybe a cell phone ban would be a better approach?

#8 anominous on 08.31.17 at 6:44 pm

Pretty much screwed if yer driving your car downtown since the center for hope will put a bicycle under anyone to ride on the sidewalk, IMHO.

#9 Zach DeBoer on 08.31.17 at 9:09 pm

The root of the problem at this particular part of town we have a street that’s been designed only with the goal of getting cars through as fast as possible.

The Bowden Youth Center, the YMCA, and EMBE all sit along this corridor and all have regular foot traffic from pedestrians (many of whom are children). I’m not saying we need to make all RTOR’s illegal, but in places that have a high number of cars traveling at speeds of 30mph or higher AND have a significant number of pedestrians present, the goal shouldn’t be getting cars through efficiently, it should be to ensure the safety of the human beings walking on the street.

#10 l3wis on 08.31.17 at 9:20 pm

I agree 100% it is a problem area, maybe instead of a sign there, they need to put in a right turn traffic signal that displays a red arrow when peds are crossing.

#11 The D@ily Spin on 09.01.17 at 9:18 am

South Dakota is one of only five states where marijuana in some form is not legal or becoming legal. Unusual or archaic traffic laws are no surprise. What’s usually true is this state is always dead last in almost everything. If you ride a bike and buzz through an intersection, you’ll eventually get wiped out. After that, you’ll make your own law and stop before you cross a street in your wheel chair.

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