San Francisco Weighs Banning All Right Turns At Red Lights

Estimated read time 3 min read

It’s to keep you safe, of course.

Keeping the public safe seems to be one of the favorite reasons cited for all kinds of government mission creep, especially in places like California. Limiting your movements or how you move as a private citizen is an area of particular concentration as of late, with one recent example being San Francisco officials proposing the banning of right turns at all red lights.

Learn how AI is tracking drivers’ movements in one part of the country here.

That’s right, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors is looking at a proposal to ban any motorist turning right while sitting at a red light anywhere in the city limits. Introduced by Supervisor Dean Preston, it’s a controversial measure, even though dozens of intersections in the municipality currently have such a restriction posted.

Lest anyone say this is a crazy conspiracy theory invented by us, the issue has been covered by none other than CBS News. While it’s framed as a measure to reduce pedestrian deaths, not everyone is a fan of the proposal.

Reportedly, such a widespread ban of right turns on red has already been implemented in Tenderloin, with Preston hailing the move as a success.

“We have the tools, and we should be using these tools in a coordinated way, with urgency, to ensure we are doing everything possible to prevent serious traffic injuries and fatalities,” Preston told CBS News.

Like other cities, San Francisco has committed itself to a bold goal of eliminating all traffic deaths. That “Vision Zero” deadline is 2024, a date that probably sounded achievable back when it was set. And while we appreciate the effort to guard against senseless deaths, the problem comes in what measures are used to protect the citizenry against itself.

Death is a part of life. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t wear seatbelts and engage in risky behaviors because dying doesn’t matter. But surrendering to ever-increasing safety measures without question can easily turn into something more than just saving lives.

Curiously, the CBS News report doesn’t include any counterpoints to this no turn on red proposal and that’s concerning. It’s possible everyone in the city loves this idea, or it could be that anyone who doesn’t knows they’ll face serious consequences for stepping out of line and saying so.

And while this might not seem like a big deal that will stay contained to San Francisco, we know these sorts of ideas have a tendency to spread.  

Image via Charles Parker

Steven Symes

Steven Symes is an accomplished automotive journalist with a passion for all things related to cars. His extensive knowledge and love for the automotive world shine through in his writing, which covers a diverse range of topics.

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