One reason I love the BikePortland comment section is because it is so educational. Case in point: I learned a new acronym last week: RTOR, or ROR.
It stands for Right Turn on Red (or Right on Red), which was the subject of one of last week’s Monday Roundup articles. The article was about the Washington D.C. Council considering a ban on right turns on a red signal as part of a transportation package aimed at making city streets safer.
Oregon also allows right-on-red, and BikePortland readers and commenters have an opinion about that.
It is not hard to describe the symptoms of the problem— drivers rolling through red lights, heads turned left looking for on-coming car traffic, and crashing into people to their right who are in the bike lane or crosswalk. But Mathew caught the essence of the problem — which is really car-centrism.
Here’s what he wrote:
Right-on-red was and is a terrible idea in relation to transportation safety in a city setting. It encourages unsafe driving habits and favors the supremacy of auto users on our shared roadways.
Right-on-red not only prioritizes auto users — already essentially the fastest and most efficient mode of transportation in a metropolitan, urban setting — but implies that they should be moving even more rapidly through our streets. Right-on-red validates impatience.
It also endorses the idea that the only other road users automobile drivers should really be looking out for are other auto users. Anyone walking, riding, or rolling will have experienced incidents at intersections where an auto user, emboldened by right-on-red, executes a rapid rolling stop, or worse blows right through a red light or stop sign. It’s tedious in its frequency.
I would hope that the Bicycle Advisory Committee would demand that the city implement a right-on-red ban such as D.C’s.
Thank you Matthew! You can read Matthew’s comment and the other informative comments in the thread under the original post (don’t forget to look for the ROR!).
Lisa Caballero has lived in SW Portland for 20 years. She is on the Transportation Committee of her neighborhood association, the Southwest Hills Residential League (SWHRL) and can be reached at email@example.com.