Most people have broken a law or two in their lifetime; however, there are some repeat offenders who decide not to obey traffic signals.
This is especially dangerous when runners and bicyclists cross over traffic.
As a runner, I have experienced drivers who do not pay attention to pedestrians when they are turning right on red or turning on a green arrow. Many assume since they are the larger vehicle they can slide right on through.
Well after experiencing a few close calls, I visited the Iowa Department of Transportation’s (IDOT) website (www.iowadot.gov/mvd/ods/dlmanual/section2.pdf) where it broke down the rules of the road.
The site stated drivers who are making a right turn who have already stopped at the red light must yield to pedestrians. Those who have a green arrow are allowed to go, but only when the intersection is clear. Those vehicles must yield to other vehicles and pedestrians in the intersection.
Drivers also must yield to bicyclists, even if the cyclist is in the wrong.
“They (the bicyclists) have no defense against a car or truck, so it is your responsibility as a driver to watch out for them,” the IDOT states.
However, on multiple occasions while I’m running alongside University Avenue in Waukee, I have to dodge cars that are turning right on red onto Alice’s Road.
I enjoy running on this path, but each time I cross that specific intersection and see a car turning, I don’t know if a car is going to stop or if they are assuming I will stop for them.
And yes, runners and bicyclists need to be aware of their surroundings, but when the pedestrian walk sign starts flashing it is assumed the roadway is safe.
Although Alice’s Road is just one example, there are other busy intersections in and around Des Moines where cars do not yield to pedestrians and the results have been tragic.
I, for one, do not want to be one of those casualties let alone see others injured or killed.
There are many drivers who should be commended for being cautious, but those who think it’s okay to blow through a right on red or those who don’t take the time to look before turning should take a second and think about how their actions could affect others. One wrong move and it could change someone’s life forever.