Should Right Turn on Red be Banned in Toronto?

The percentages of pedestrians and cyclists who are injured or killed every year by drivers making a right turn when the light turns red are 2% and 4%. This figure could be significantly reduced if Toronto put a blanket ban on right turns on red similar to other cities, including Montreal and New York City.

At first, this might seem like an outlandish idea. But cities which have worse traffic than Toronto experience a much better statistic. Although skeptics would argue that the number of accidents due to drivers making a right turn on red is not the main cause, the data proves otherwise.

According to a study, ever since the right turn on red was legalized, there has been a substantial increase in accidents that involve cyclists and pedestrians. This was published in 1982 in the Journal of Safety Research.

Benefits of imposing the ban on the right turn on red

If this ban was to be imposed, it could benefit all parties on the road.

• For drivers – Putting a ban on the right turn on red could save time as well as gas for the drivers. It would be a lot easier to understand that you cannot make a turn unless the light turns green. This will reduce the amount of time and effort put into searching for signs to make a turn at every intersection.

• For pedestrians – It would make the roads a lot safer as drivers would not be blocking the crosswalks, which can result in accidents.

• For cyclists – Many of the accidents which involve cyclists result from the fact that drivers keep looking left for a gap in the traffic. This prevents them from seeing cyclists who are coming from the right and results in a collision. Putting the ban on making a right turn on the red light will make the roads safer for cyclists as well.

However, it is also important to note that drivers are not solely to be blamed for accidents involving cyclists. A large majority of bicycle riders do not obey traffic rules. Some do not ride on the sidewalks, and others even ride on the wrong side of the road.

The city of Toronto has a comprehensive plan for road safety. So implementing the right turn on the red ban could facilitate the outcome of making the roads a lot safer and enjoyable for everyone, whether you are walking, cycling, or driving.