Dear Street Smarts,
Q: Many Santa Cruz intersections have posted signs which either allow or prohibit U-turns. But what about unmarked intersections? Are U-turns allowed or prohibited?
Gerald Sherman, Santa Cruz
A: The rule of thumb, according to the California Driver Handbook, is that legal U-turns can be made from the far left lane or the center left turn lane:
- Across a double yellow line when it is safe and legal, meaning no sign prohibits it;
- In a residential district when no vehicles are approaching within 200 feet and/or whenever a traffic sign, light, or signal protects you from oncoming automobiles;
- At an intersection on a green light or arrow, unless a “No U-turn” sign is present.
- On a divided highway, only when an opening is provided in the center divide.
Conversely, U-turns may not be made:
- At or on railroad crossings.
- On divided roads by crossing a dividing section, curb, strip of land or two sets of double yellow lines.
- Where you cannot clearly see 200 feet in each direction because of a curve, hill, rain, fog or other reason.
- Where “No U-Turn” signs are posted.
- When other vehicles are close enough to hit you.
- On a one-way street.
- In front of a fire station.
- In business districts. Parts of town with churches, apartments, multiple dwelling houses, clubs, and public buildings – except schools – are also considered to be business districts. In those areas, turn only at an intersection, unless a “No U-turn” sign is posted or where openings are provided for turns.
Read the driver handbook online at www.dmv.ca.gov. Arrow over to “Driver License” and click on “Driver Handbooks.”
Bike Traffic School
Cyclists who are interested in being safer, more confident riders are invited to attend Bike Traffic School 10 a.m.-noon Saturday, Feb. 11.
Santa Cruz County offers the monthly workshop to cyclists who were cited for not following traffic laws, as well as curious members of the public.
Bike Traffic School costs $35. Pre-registration is required.
For information, call (831) 454-7551 or visit www.sctrafficsafety.org/BikeTrafficSchool.
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