Street redesign is the ultimate solution to the epidemic of serious injury and fatality of walkers, and intimidation of walkers by drivers, however, in the interim, while streets are being redesigned, enforcement can save lives and increase walking. There are real equity issues with the enforcement of vehicle codes violations. Given that I do not […]

California Vehicle Code 21950, failure to yield to pedestrians, is in my opinion the most important violation as it applies to implementing Vision Zero in Sacramento. The Vision Zero Sacramento Action Plan (draft) says “Launch high-visibility enforcement campaigns against speeding, failure to yield to pedestrians, distracted driving, and impaired driving. Campaigns will focus on HIN […]

Sacramento essentially has no traffic enforcement currently, which has led to significant increase in: running stop signs (not talking about illegal failure to come to a complete stop, but running at full speed or slowing only slightly) failure by drivers to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk (actually in the crosswalk, not just waiting to […]

An article in the Sacramento Bee today by Tony Bizjak (Back-Seat Driver), Lawmaker challenges California’s $500 fine for right-turn violations, talks about the infraction of not stopping on red before turning right, and whether the fine is appropriate. The article invited people to comment. I’ve written several times about what I think about stop signs, so what I’m writing here is just about traffic signals.

My first reaction is that the people favoring lower fines, or no fines at all, for this infraction are the many of the same people who go ballistic when a bicyclist rolls through a stop sign. This is part of a typical attitude that the things I do on the road are OK, but what other people do endangers me and the social order, and they should be treated harshly. This attitude does not recognize that laws are (theoretically) in place to reduce wrong behavior and not solely for the purpose of punishment.

California Vehicle Code (CVC) 21453 says:

(a) A driver facing a steady circular red signal alone shall stop at a marked limit line, but if none, before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection or, if none, then before entering the intersection, and shall remain stopped until an indication to proceed is shown, except as provided in subdivision (b).
(b) Except when a sign is in place prohibiting a turn, a driver, after stopping as required by subdivision (a), facing a steady circular red signal, may turn right, or turn left from a one-way street onto a one-way street. A driver making that turn shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians lawfully within an adjacent crosswalk and to any vehicle that has approached or is approaching so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard to the driver, and shall continue to yield the right-of-way to that vehicle until the driver can proceed with reasonable safety.

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I was walking around midtown this afternoon, and riding this evening, watching the behavior of bicyclists, and wishing it was better. I saw bicyclists running stop signs without looking, failing to yield to pedestrians crossing the street, and not taking turns at intersections. Yes, we’ve all seen it before. But what struck me is that […]