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MailTribune.com
  • Red light doesn't apply in this case

  • Driving south on Hawthorne Street from the Medford Center, there is a stop light at East Main Street. Because there is no restriction here on making a right turn on red, after checking to be sure traffic was clear, I turned right on East Main Street. After completing the turn, I faced a red light on East Main Street (before r...
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  • Driving south on Hawthorne Street from the Medford Center, there is a stop light at East Main Street. Because there is no restriction here on making a right turn on red, after checking to be sure traffic was clear, I turned right on East Main Street. After completing the turn, I faced a red light on East Main Street (before reaching the Bear Creek Bridge). I must have turned on a red light just before the light turned green for Hawthorne Street traffic. Should I have stopped for the red light on East Main Street, thereby causing a blocked roadway, or proceeded west on East Main Street running a red light? Confusion could be resolved if the light were moved east.
    — Dody T., Medford
    This is an unusual intersection, to be sure. What you did is legal, as there is no prohibition against making a right turn on red at this intersection. No, you should not have stopped for the red light. The red light is for drivers headed westbound on East Main and would apply for vehicles behind the designated stop line, which in this case is a pedestrian crosswalk. Any vehicle turning right as you did, while on a green light, would face the same scenario. After turning they would be looking at a red light, too.
    But again, as I said, it doesn't apply when your starting point is within the intersection. It applies only to those vehicles on Main Street that are outside the intersection and beyond the crosswalk.
    Dace Cochran, a patrol sergeant with the Jackson County Sheriff's Department, writes a weekly Q&A column on police issues for the Mail Tribune. Have a question for him? Write to Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501, or email cochradc@jacksoncounty.org.
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