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January 22, 2011

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Home » Metro » Public Services

New lights may mean safer roads

THE city plans to install more no-right-turn traffic lights at some busy intersections to better protect pedestrians, police told Shanghai Daily yesterday.

Police said more traffic lights will be revamped downtown. The traffic lights will feature a warning sign during a green light. It will tell vehicles turning right to yield to scooters, cyclists and pedestrians.

"The no-right-turn light will flash for 10 to 20 seconds during the beginning of a green light to ban vehicles from making a right turn," said an officer from the local traffic police team, who asked not to be identified. "Drivers who disobey will lose three points and get fined 300 yuan (US$45), the same punishment as running a red light."

Vehicles should always give right-of-way to pedestrians and bicycles according to Chinese traffic law.

Many other countries have a similar law.

But local car drivers seem to be unaware of the rule, arousing wide safety concerns among expatriates in Shanghai.

Many expatriates have written to Shanghai Daily, calling on the government to carry out better law enforcement and education of driving rules. Some expatriates even said the issue is the biggest safety hazard on local streets.

Traffic police said 181 riders were killed in traffic accidents involving scooters last year. Due to the speed, scooter riders are at higher risk of suffering serious injuries in collisions with vehicles turning right.

No-right-turn traffic signs have been installed on a small number of busy crossroads such as the Beijing Road W. and Chengdu Road intersection, as well as at Maoming Road and Yan'an Road.

Traffic police said they will install more at downtown crossroads wherever possible this year.

"There are many conditions needed to make the extra traffic light possible. The intersections need to be wide enough to pool vehicles for a while and we also need to analyze the influence to overall traffic flow caused by a no-right-turn light," traffic police said.

A local judge said crossing the street is now very dangerous.

"Some drivers don't pay attention to pedestrians," judge Zhang Haitang said.

"A green light doesn't give pedestrians much time to cross. For slower people or those carrying babies, crossing the street has become dangerous," Zhang said.


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