I am about as law-abiding a citizen as there is, mainly because from the time I was a wee child growing up in Chicago, I was taught to fearóer, to have a healthy respect for the law.
So when I got pulled over this morning on Wilshire (doing 15 mph) just past La Brea, my heart clutched in fear even though I knew I was probably just getting a warning for some unknown busted tail light.
Instead, I received my first moving violation EVERóin over 37 years of driving, folksófor turning against a red arrow on a green light.
(More frothing at the mouth after the jump…)
You see, a year or so ago, they added a standalone left-turn signal at the intersection of Wilshire and La Brea, which was great since it’s such a busy intersection…except that people coming from either direction are always turning on the regular yellow (and red), cutting into the arrow time. But since some of us do it, all of us do it, so I figure it kind of evens out to where it was before we had the arrow. (And god help you if you sit at that red arrow because o, the horns you’ll hear!)
Anyway, you turn on the arrow if you can; you wait for oncoming traffic to clear the intersection at the end of their green if you don’t. Everyone does it…EVEN COPS! Still, it’s a terrifying thing, so one day, I looked it up on the CA DMV site. The information is a little…um…unclear:
RED ARROW- A red arrow means ìSTOPî. Remain stopped until the green signal or green arrow appears. Do not turn against a red arrow.
So I’m supposed to stop if I see a red arrow (which I did)…unless there’s a green light, in which I should go (which I did).
Now, if there was a sign anywhere clarifying this, fine. If it had said, “Left turn on arrow only” as it does at intersections in other parts of the city, heyówrite me up; I’m an asshat. But this is so not marked and so not clear and the standard is so “move your ass or I’ll run it the hell over with my gigantic SUV” that I feel at the very least, I should have been let off with a warning. And believe me, not only would I never have done this again, I would have come right here and posted so everyone else would know the law in the absence of signage that clarifies it.
Instead, I’m going to go back and take pictures, including as much video as I can get of people turning against that #%@*( red arrow. I’m praying I can catch a cop doing it. I’m going to take pictures of some of the other intersections around town that DO have signs (if anyone can point me towards a few, much appreciated). I’m going to save the HTML on that DMV page and print out a PDF. And I’m going to fight this incredible wrong in court.
Respectfully and politely, of course…
/rant, as Sean would say…