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Pedestrian risks when drivers turn right on a red

| Aug 26, 2020 | Pedestrian Accidents |

Turning right on a red light is generally allowed, though some stoplights have signs noting that it is illegal at that intersection or at certain times. The idea behind making these turns legal is that, if there is no cross traffic at the time, the driver can stop, check the road and then make a safe turn into an empty lane.

In the context of traffic, this works well. The problem comes when there are pedestrians.

After all, the right of way belongs to a pedestrian at a crosswalk. They will likely have a walk signal and be allowed to cross while that light is red. Drivers are supposed to wait until they cross before turning.

However, as pedestrians know too well, there is sometimes a delay in the lights. For instance, perhaps the main light turns red, but there is a green arrow for cars turning left. This means that the pedestrian’s walk signal is delayed during the arrow.

A driver who is turning right, though, may not recognize this delay. They’ll think that the pedestrian is simply not planning to cross the road. This can lead them to pause at the light and then begin turning just as the pedestrian gets the walk signal, at the same moment they may step right into that right-turn lane.

All it takes is a small mistake by a driver to cause an accident that could leave a pedestrian with serious or even fatal injuries. Those who get injured, and the families of those who are killed, must know what legal steps they can take to protect their rights and obtain fair compensation for their losses. An experienced attorney can help.