Stop and Yield Before Right Turn on Red

Question

Christine asked: In Pinellas County I was traveling in my car North on Seminole Blvd and came to a red light on 102nd Ave and Seminole Blvd. As I approached the red light I stopped behind the white line and then inched forward to turn a right onto 102nd going east. I waited there for traffic to clear so I can turn right. As I was waiting I saw a bicyclist on the other side of the street riding east on 102nd.  He came riding straight towards me (He is on the crosswalk at this time) and stopped right at my window.  I rolled down my window and asked him what was wrong because he just sat there and looked at me. He was yelling at me that I was supposed to stay behind the white line and not on the crosswalk. I tried to tell him I did and that he was not supposed to be crossing because his pedestrian crossing signal light was red.

Did I break some law that I didn’t know about?

Answer

Angry cyclists.  Angry motorists.  Simple problems turn into confrontations and make things ugly and sometimes dangerous.  Too bad we can’t all just try to accommodate others’ mistakes and understand when those mistakes are our own.

If the cyclist was on the sidewalk or crosswalk and his pedestrian crossing signal was red (Do not walk), he was not “proceeding as directed”, so it appears that your actions were correct and the cyclist was violating the statute requiring pedestrians (Or bicyclists on sidewalks and crosswalks having the rights and duties of pedestrians) to obey pedestrian traffic control signals.  If a “Walk” pedestrian signal  or a green signal and no “Do not walk” pedestrian signal was showing in his direction, you would be required to stop and yield before entering the crosswalk area to turn.

s. 316.075Traffic Control Signal Devices

(c) Steady red indication

1. Vehicular traffic facing a steady red signal shall stop before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection or, if none, then before entering the intersection and shall remain standing until a green indication is shown; however:

a. The driver of a vehicle which is stopped at a clearly marked stop line, but if none, before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection, or, if none then at the point nearest the intersecting roadway where the driver has a view of approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway before entering the intersection in obedience to a steady red signal may make a right turn, but shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and other traffic proceeding as directed by the signal at the intersection …..

If the cyclist had been in the roadway and not using the sidewalk and crosswalk, and his signal was green,  he would have had the right of way.

Local authorities may post signs that prohibit right turn on red.  If such a sign were in place, you were not correct in turning right on red.  The cyclist would still be in violation if not obeying a pedestrian signal.

See the other posts about this subject in the tag cloud for “Crosswalks” and “Sidewalks”.

Posted in Ask Geo, Stop Signs & Red Lights Tagged with: , , ,
3 comments on “Stop and Yield Before Right Turn on Red
  1. Dwight says:

    There are three main reasons, I think, that cyclists who ride on sidewalks often do not trouble to push the pushbutton to activate the pedestrian signal at a crosswalk.

    1. If a cyclist is riding on sidewalk on the right side of the road, and the light for parallel roadway traffic is green (ball), pushing the button to obtain a pedestrian crossing sequence may not seem necessary or particularly advantageous.

    As long as the light remains green (or yellow), the only vehicles that might be encountered in the crosswalk should be (1) a vehicle turning right on green, (2) an oncoming vehicle that turns left on green (if the signals are set up to allow left turns on a “permissive” green indication), (3) a vehicle on the far side of the cross street that turns right on red after stopping on red.

    If the crosswalk is clear when the cyclist arrives, it may appear that no drivers are present who might be about to make such movements. If such a driver is present, obtaining a pedestrian crossing sequence from the pedestrian signal does not guarantee that the motorist will notice the cyclist and yield to them.

    2. If the green for parallel roadway traffic has already been illuminated for some time, pressing the pedestrian pushbutton will usually call a pedestrian crossing sequence in the next cycle, which may require a wait of two minutes or more.

    3. If the pushbutton is mounted on a pole that is out of the cyclist’s path of travel, a detour to the pole can involve a delay of a few seconds (go to pole, stop, identify correct button to push, push it, proceed to curb ramp).

    The greatest advantage of pushing the button and obtaining a pedestrian crossing sequence is that it assures there will be enough time to finish crossing. Although the light for parallel roadway traffic is green now, it might turn yellow and then red in just a few seconds.

  2. Herman F. Ebeling, Jr. says:

    I’ve encountered a situation pretty much identical to this one about a year or so ago. I was driving my bike to the local VA, the cross street had a green light, but the pedestrian/walk light was red.

    There was another cyclist driving his bike on the sidewalk, who ran the red walk light. When I’d pointed out to him that he needed to stop, he points to the light for the road and says, the light is green. Obviously, never having familiarizing himself with the law. I should also probably point out that he never slowed down, just “blasted” off of the sidewalk and into the intersection.

    As I am sure we’ll agree, if he wanted to be bound by the traffic light controlling the roadway he needs to drive his bike in the roadway and not on the sidewalk.

    Then earlier this month I was driving my bike in the parking lot of a local mall. When I encountered a woman, who seemed to think that the paint of the crosswalk had some sort of “magical” properties that relived her of having to make sure that it was safe for her to step off the sidewalk and start crossing, as she said to me “you know theres a crosswalk here.” The irony, is that my front wheel entered the crosswalk before she blindly stepped off of the sidewalk. I’ve encountered a situation pretty much identical to this one about a year or so ago. I was driving my bike to the local VA, the cross street had a green light, but the pedestrian/walk light was red.

    When I’d pointed out to him that he needed to stop, he points to the light for the road and says, the light is green. Obviously, never having familiarizing himself with the law. I should also probably point out that he never slowed down, just “blasted” off of the sidewalk and into the intersection.

    As I am sure we’ll agree, if he wanted to be bound by the traffic light controlling the roadway he needs to drive his bike in the roadway and not on the sidewalk.

  3. Pedestrian signals are normally mounted at least seven feet, but less than ten feet above the sidewalk and are in the line of the pedestrians’ vision. The pedestrian push-button detector is usually found on the pole under the pedestrian signal head. A sign is normally mounted above the pedestrian detector explaining its purpose, and the position of the push button will tell which crosswalk signal is activated by which push-button.

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