It’s important for any citizen of an organized society to understand that the law is a living thing. Indeed, on the national, provincial, and local municipal level new laws are being enacted all the time. The vast majority of these laws may not affect your day to day life dramatically, but small incremental changes add up to significant differences in the legal framework in which we all live. As legal professionals, we here at Malloy Law are naturally more attuned to new developments the law. This is especially true in our own home of the greater Washington DC metro area. A new law looks set to change the future of the way we travel through the district. We want to inform you about it. Read on for the full story on this new Washington DC law.
Many jurisdictions allow the practice of turning right at a red light. In many jurisdictions, drivers may make right turns at red lights after coming to a complete stop. A right turn at a red light can help you avoid getting stuck in traffic and can get you to your destination more quickly. But in dense downtowns where space is at a premium and traffic is a constant concern, turning right on red may create more problems than it solves.
The Washington DC city council agrees with this sentiment, as it recently voted 12-1 in favor of a law banning right-turns at red lights throughout the district. However, there will be exceptions at certain intersections where the department of transportation believes allowing the right turn on red would be safer than making drivers wait. The council alone cannot pass this restriction into law and it wouldn’t be an immediate change. If the mayor signs it into law, the right turn on red ban would take effect on January 1, 2025.
DC has a well documented traffic-congestion problem. So drivers may be understandably frustrated, on the surface it seems that one of the techniques by which drivers trim time from their commute is being restricted. But there’s hard data underpinning this new legislation. After the department of transportation prohibited right turns on red at 100 intersections, they saw a significantly safer experience for motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians alike. DC Councilwoman Mary Cheh, who represents Ward 3 and chairs the Committee on Transportation and the Environment, described “…far fewer conflicts between cars and people, more cars yielding for pedestrians and generally safer conditions.”
Indeed it’s the changing face of urban transit that has necessitated this new legislation. Frequent visitors to DC’s bustling downtown can make use of bike and scooter sharing systems from a myriad of services, both municipally funded and privately owned. As the number of commuters choosing to commute via bike or scooter rises proportionally to the traditional car or metro commuters, so do the number of complaints about motorists disrespecting and disregarding bike lanes. We at Malloy Law Offices are longtime advocates for the rights of cyclists and pedestrians. Two-wheeled and two-footed travelers have the right to commute safely and deserve respect from drivers, same as anyone else.
Drivers should always respect the boundaries of bike lanes and give ample space and time to cyclists, pedestrians, and scooter travelers. Failure to do so could result in damage to your vehicle and severe injuries for the other commuter.
The changing landscape of the law can be confusing, but these legal evolutions play a large part in driving our world forward. Societies all throughout history have stagnated and fallen into ruin when they’ve failed to legislate effectively to meet the challenges faced by changing times. We here at Malloy Law Offices take pride in our roles as both advocates for the injured and intermediaries between people and the laws meant to protect them. We hope further reading on our blog can keep you informed on new Washington DC law developments and possible personal injury scenarios. Furthermore, if you or a loved one has been the victim of a car, bike, scooter, or pedestrian accident, contact us today for a free consultation. You have the right to seek compensation for your injury, emotional distress, and property damage.