Drivers, cyclists must stop for stop signs, red lights unless…

Q: I have continually seen a really dangerous driving behavior in this city and wondered if people actually know the law. Aren't you supposed to come to a complete stop at a corner and turn right only if you can proceed safely? I most recently watched a man turn right at 41st Avenue and Capitola Road and the woman entering the crosswalk with her two small children in a stroller had to leap back onto the sidewalk to keep from getting hit! (The driver) didn't hardly slow down before he turned right at that corner against a red light. I see it all the time where people just glide through the stop light and turn right. The corner of Murray Street and 7th Avenue is another daily reminder to me that people must not know the law. When entering that intersection I need to always watch the driver deciding to turn right as though they had the right of way -- even though the light for them might be red. I don't trust drivers in this city to stop, look and then proceed if it is safe. This is just a huge concern I wanted to share. Thanks, Patty Tausheck, via email A:"Drivers and bicyclists are absolutely required to come to a complete stop at a stop light or stop sign prior to turning right,” said Officer Sarah Jackson, spokeswoman for the California Highway Patrol’s Aptos office. “The exception would be for a designated, divided right turn lane controlled by a yield sign.” Officers who witness such infractions would cite traffic violators for disobeying California Vehicle Code section 22450(a) for failing to stop at a stop sign, which carries a fine of about $146 after additional fees and assessments are added on, or 21453(a) for failing to stop at a circular red light, she said. That carries a fine of about $380 after fees and assessments. If the officer cites under failing to stop on red in making a right turn, CVC 21453(b), the fine would be around $146 after fees and assessments are attached. “If the driver stops completely at the limit line, but violates the right of way of a pedestrian who had already safely entered the crosswalk, the driver is likely to be cited for 21950(a) for violating the right-of-way of a pedestrian within a crosswalk,” Jackson said. Violating CVC 21950(a) also carries a fine of about $146. If you or others on the road notice this or other types of traffic violations occur regularly in a certain location, file a complaint with the local CHP office at 662-0511, she said. Make sure to include details such as location and time of day the infraction tends to occur. “Our officers will respond to the area and ensure the safety of the community," said Jackson.
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