Like, I suspect, many of you, I have often wondered how the “right turn on red” law applies at Mass Pike Exit 16 in West Newton. When heading to Route 16 West, the stoplight occurs at a right bend in the road.  My assumption was that this did not constitute a “right turn” but was a continuation of the road. Most drivers I observe disagree, continuing through the intersection as of the law applied (most do stop, so I’m not complaining about drivers running the red in this case). When I come to that light, I either get in the left lane so those who believe differently from me can have their right turn, or suffer the obnoxious honking of drivers impatient to experience the thrill of getting stuck in the traffic jam on Washington St. just a few hundred yards ahead.

It appears the Boston Globe Starts and Stops column agrees with me, though there is sympathy for the confusion these intersections pose:

“So, even though the road curves to the right . . . drivers are still making a ‘through movement,’ or going straight,” (MassDOT spokesperson Mike) Verseckes said. “Therefore, they must stop at the signal and may only continue on when the signal turns green.”

This reminded me of several years ago, when this same weekly column posited that a left turn on red is indeed legal entering the Pike westbound on Exit 17. Strangely, few drivers take advantage of that, while more simply blow through the light (an enforcement-needed topic for another post, perhaps).

Perhaps a minor point of law, but something I think about often enough that I was glad to see it addressed in the column. Anyone else ever think about that intersection?

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