A DC Council bill would prohibit right-turning at red lights for motorists at most intersections in the district.
Washington Area Bike Association Advocacy Director Jeremiah Lowery sees the proposed bill as a step in the right direction.
“The vast majority of the times I’ve been nearly hit is due to a car turning right on red,” Lowery said.
In July, three cyclists were killed after being hit by motorists in DC. Lowery says the cyclist community wants more protection.
“It’s absolutely terrifying when you’re riding your bike or walking around town and you don’t know what’s around the corner,” he said.
Department 3 Councilor Mary Cheh wants red not to become the norm in DC. She insists that the bill be put on the agenda for a vote when the Council returns from recess in September.
“DDOT initially opposed a standard no-turn-on-red policy,” Cheh said. “Instead, it is suggested that the agency continue to analyze intersections.”
This was from a meeting of the transportation committee in July.
She said the DC Department of Transportation is now on board, and if passed, the bill would go into effect in January 2025.
“DDOT has requested that if we are to proceed with this red-burning ban, the policy would be phased in over a two-year period,” Cheh said. “This would give the agency time and a chance to run red where it deems necessary for security.”
In 2019, DC banned red lights on the right at about 100 intersections, but some say this has led to more congested streets, posing dangers.
“I think it could become more congested because people are used to turning right on red,” said bicycle messenger Jeff Shaw.
Cyclist Joel Guadz thinks a one-size-fits-all approach may not make the most sense.
“I am a lifelong cyclist, an urban cyclist, a commuter, and I believe that turning right at red, if done safely, should remain,” he said.
Instead, he calls on drivers to make sure they’re always paying attention.
“Motorists have the greatest responsibility because their mistakes can be someone’s life,” he said.
The bill would also allow people on bicycles and scooters to view stop signs as a sign of revenue.
So far this year, vehicles have hit and killed 11 pedestrians and three cyclists in DC.
DDOT Director Everett Lott gave News4 a statement saying, “DDOT is in the process of revising DC Council Bill B24-0673 and we have no comments on this proposed Bill at this time. As for intersections that have already banned right-on-red exits, DDOT has systematically implemented restrictions at many intersections since 2019, especially in the Central Business District. accident history, level of pedestrian activity and other factors and criteria.”