Washington D.C eliminates Right Turns at Red Lights.

  • Beginning in 2025, Washington, D.C. would ban right turns at red lights “almost in all circumstances,” reversing regulations that were passed across the nation in the late 1970s.
  • Given that automobiles check for traffic coming from the left before turning right, just as walkers receive the signal to advance and step off the curb, right turns on red are seen to be hazardous for pedestrians.

According to the Vision Zero Network website, Vision Zero is “a plan to eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries, while enhancing safe, healthy, egalitarian mobility for all.” It was first implemented in Sweden in the 1990s. Although Washington D.C. has long supported Vision Zero, there have recently been more traffic fatalities and injuries there.

According to Colin Brooke, communications director for the Washington Area Bicyclists Association, the Safer Streets Amendment Act of 2022, which was approved by the District of Columbia council in the first few days of October, is a part of a larger collection of safety initiatives that form part of a toolkit for the Vision Zero initiative. According to Brooke, removing right turns on red is mainly for walkers, however, the larger package also includes a modified version for bicycles and electric scooter users.

Mary Cheh proposed the Safer Streets Amendment. This year, her committee’s bill to raise the yearly registration price for automobiles weighing above 6,000 pounds to $500 was approved.

According to preliminary data from the NHTSA, the number of fatalities on American roads increased by 10.5 percent to 42,915 in 2021. This is an increase from 32,367 in 2011, and a large portion of the rise is due to motor vehicles colliding with pedestrians and cyclists.


According to Bicycle Universe, the Idaho Stop was created in 1982 when the state passed legislation enabling bikes to go through red lights and consider stop signals as yield signs. Although additional states have embraced the Idaho Stop, others, like D.C., do not allow the full Monty of the traffic law

The Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975, pushed American states and Washington, D.C., to pass rules permitting right turns at red lights. Those of us old enough to remember this can attest to this. According to Wikipedia, they were already allowed in western states, and Massachusetts was the last to join the party in 1980. According to nyc.gov, they have been “severely regulated” in New York City but are more common on Staten Island because of the island’s low pedestrian and traffic loads.