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No right turns on red would improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians says advocate

'Because of the way you need to effect a right turn on red, you're looking in the wrong direction,' said Martyn Williams
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(stock photo)

A pedestrian safety advocate is giving his full support to an idea that will be floated this week at Halifax Regional Municipality's transportation standing committee.

Halifax West Armdale councillor Shawn Cleary will put forward a motion on Thursday to propose staff put together a detailed report outlining the potential implications of restricting right-hand turns at red lights.

Earlier this week Cleary said, if passed, his broad motion would give staff the opportunity to study a blanket ban, look at restricting the turns in pedestrian dense areas, or not allowing certain types of vehicles from turning on reds.

Martyn Williams of HRM Safe Streets for Everyone believes not allowing right-hand turns on red would be a great step towards improving safety for both pedestrians and cyclists in HRM.

"Because of the way you need to effect a right turn on red, you're looking in the wrong direction," he explained. "You're looking to your left as you're pulling out and you're not noticing pedestrians around you."

Williams said his son was nearly dragged under the wheels of a right turning vehicle at a red light.

"It was stopped, so we thought it was safe to cross and the walk sign was on," he told NEWS 95.7's The Rick Howe Show. "But then it moved forward very suddenly and the driver was looking incan y the wrong direction."

"There's literally nothing you can do as a pedestrian or a cyclist to anticipate this move or avoid it, so it's very trecherous."

In many parts of the world, including Europe, drivers can't turn right on red unless signage specifically allows it.

Williams doesn't think banning the practice here would have a significant impact on traffic flow.

"Generally, with a right on red, you see only one drive out ... so I don't think it will have an effect on congestion at all," he said.

"It's just one of those things drivers are used to, it's convenient, and the majority of people here are drivers and don't want to see an end to a rule which they're used to."


Meghan Groff

About the Author: Meghan Groff

Born in Michigan, raised in Ontario, schooled in Indiana and lives in Nova Scotia; Meghan is the editor for CityNews Halifax.
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