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The basics about U-turns

So where can you make a legal U-turn on our roads? Only where it is posted? I see so many people making U-turns on Biddle that I think it is illegal and dangerous." Roger P.

Could you do a column someday on U-turns? So many times at intersections we're surprised by someone doing one in front of us, especially at the light going into Costco at Cardinal. Yesterday the three cars in front of us all did U-turns. One, a pickup, was so long he had to stop and back up in order to make the turn." Pat Y.

U-turns are illegal:

Whenever made within an intersection where traffic is controlled by an electric signal, except where posted otherwise.

Within the limits of an incorporated city when between intersections.

At any place upon a highway where the vehicle cannot be seen either direction within a distance of 500 feet within the incorporated limits of a city or 1,000 feet outside a city.

An illegal U-turn is a Class C traffic violation, the bail being $145, unless it contributes to an accident. If the U-turn leads to an accident then the offense is a Class B traffic violation and the bail is $242.

So, to answer Roger's question, there used to be only one place on Biddle Road where a U-turn was allowed and that was going south on Biddle Road and then U- turning at Superior Court next to Sizzler. That was because it is an actual intersection of roads, not a parking lot entrance like Sears or Barnes and Noble, and there is no electric signal. All other intersections on Biddle Road are controlled by lights. But, I see that the city of Medford has recently changed a couple intersections by specifically signing them to allow U-turns.

One of the intersections is at Biddle and Morrow roads and the other is at Biddle and Hilton roads. With the new Interstate 5 off ramp configuration, allowing U-turns at those two locations makes a lot of sense, especially for those poor souls who stayed at the Rogue Regency Inn trying to get out and back on their way.

To answer Pat's question, the intersection of Cardinal and Highway 62 in front of Costco is a signalled intersection (controlled by an electric signal) and is NOT posted to allow a U-turn. Using the criteria set forth above, drivers who make a U- turn at this intersection are in violation of the U-turn law. Another intersection I'll add on as a bonus, since I see the violation almost every time I pass through it, is the intersection of Highway 62 and Bullock/Poplar Drive, when dealing with White City-bound traffic on Highway 62. Again, this is an electrically controlled intersection and NOT posted to allow a U-turn, so White City-bound drivers in the left turn lane who make a U-turn are breaking the law regarding U- turns. Legally the only movement you can make there is to turn left and go onto Bullock Road.