Close call with driver turning right on red, from Hayes to Army-Navy Drive
Location: SE corner of S Hayes St and Army Navy Dr in Pentagon City.
Light is red for Hayes street and green arrow about to turn on for Army Navy Dr. There is a No Turn on Red (except when pedestrians present) sign.
I am on the sidewalk, and have been for the whole light cycle (I got there after the previous walk sign ended), calmly waiting for the green arrow so that I can cross my side of Hayes (if you cross on that side with the green arrow, you get to the other side by the time the walk is on. The sight lines for the drivers are good to see people waiting for the walk signal. If the light is red, and a pedestrian, which I am acting like, is present, then no one can go through the intersection from that region).
A woman comes roaring up the road into the right turn lane. Since the light is red, I thought she would stop and I start to enter the crosswalk (I have seen many others come to the complete stop). She continues to roar up, looking left and turning. I have to roll back to avoid being hit (she was also very close to the curb). Apparently oblivious to all else. I did yell about no turn on red, but she was long gone. I have no information about the car at all - I can only tell you it was dark in color, but that could be blue, black, gray, maroon. No clue on plates.
You were lucky. Same thing happened to me a couple of weeks ago. I got hit but lived to tell the tale.
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Yours was a much worse situation. Very lucky that you weren't hurt badly. I hope all bruises have healed.
Originally Posted by Rootchopper
I was POed more than anything else, which may be a sign that this kind of thing is happening too frequently to me - my rides through Ballston and Clarendon have likely done that to me. This one shocked me in that it wasn't such a packed situation as Ballston/Clarendon and normally this is a far more calm intersection at that hour.
Glad to hear you are ok. Blowing through a no-turn-on-red like this is extremely reckless and dangerous.
Originally Posted by DrP
You should be aware that this is an all-too-common behavior for drivers with a suburban (i.e. cars-only) mindset. In fact, at many intersections, right-turning drivers will get a green arrow whenever the cross street has a left arrow. Drivers thus become accustomed to whipping around corners whenever they see perpendicular traffic making left turns. (Plus they know that if they don't hurry up and complete their turn before the corresponding left turn arrow expires, they might have to wait awhile after the straight-thru herd gets rolling.) Please do not interpret this post as an attempt to excuse this driver; her maneuver was very aggressive and entirely inexcusable since this is a high-pedestrian neighborhood and that intersection is clearly posted to prohibit such movement. But you might consider reducing your exposure to this hazard by waiting until the Army-Navy arrow clears.
Another example of why turns on red should be largely or entirely banned so people don't even consider making them. I live in Pentagon City just a couple of blocks away and I can tell that you we have an unusually high number of blind people in the area. I shudder to think of what may have happened under different circumstances.
I am also a firm believer that detectors should be installed at high density intersections to stop all traffic when people in crosswalks are detected. I really don't understand why my time and comfort is more important to planners when I'm in a steel box versus walking through the same intersection.
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I have often wondered about blind people at all the intersections with talking walk signals and, especially, the flashing yellow signals that recommend drivers to stop. I frequently envision a blind pedestrian (or kid!) starting out when the signal announces itself only to be whacked by a vehicle that was looking for the break in traffic from the left rather than the whole intersection.
I changed my mind about right turn on red signs years ago for such reasons, since I frequently walk and bike as a form of transportation. If the drivers actually stopped and looked and waited if someone were there, that would be different, but so often folks barely slow down to make the turn.
I will not assume the person will stop next time - I will stare and wave arms, if needed, to make sure it is clear to go. I already wag my finger at folks or point to the no turn on red at the IOD. I can do that here too. It just wasn't something I had seen before and I have been on this route for almost 3 months now. Oh well.
Cars rolling right on red without stopping are so common that pedestrians should, for sheer survival, anticipate them. I try to never step into the street until I have observed cars in every lane have stopped. A new rule I'm adopting is to stand several feet back from the curb while waiting to cross. I've occasionally seen drivers of turning vehicles come up over curb - often when they are distracted by looking left while running the red!
It's not just red lights. Folks pulling out of parking lots do the same sort of thing. When I go on any of my runs I can count on this behavior. Drivers constantly looking to their left for a break in traffic without ever once looking right before stepping on the throttle. Call me crazy, but I think you should at least look in the direction of travel before stomping on the gas.
Originally Posted by DrP
I just had a flashback to my Driver's Ed class. I can literally hear the clicking of the filmstrip with the soft radio voice saying, "Look left. Look right. Look left again. Now proceed with the turn."
Originally Posted by Birru
And it's a problem that too many people just "Look left while proceeding with the turn."
Originally Posted by Judd