The Future of Vision Zero and Right-Hand Turns on Reds

As we near the end of 2021 and the first iteration of Vision Zero in the City of Toronto is set to conclude, we wonder what the future holds for policy around road safety. Will it take a bolder stance on lowering speeds, introducing road diets, prioritizing pedestrian crossings, or will the car continue to be king? 

Crossing intersections of any size in the City of Toronto can be a harrowing experience. With wide lanes, narrow turning radii and a need for speed, drivers can be callous. While blaming the individual driver (and in some cases, blaming the pedestrian) is easy to do when cars block pedestrian crossings or speed through school zones, but the design of our roads encourages this type of behaviour. 

Permitted right turns on red lights encourage risky driving behaviour at the expense of the pedestrian right of way, despite Vision Zero 2017 – 2021 that introduced a prohibition on right-hand turns on reds at “key locations.”[1] Still, at intersections across the city with high traffic and pedestrian volumes this has yet to be implemented.  

Right-hand turns on red lights are an outdated relic from the car-centric city planning of the last 70 years that prioritizes the speed and flow of cars over pedestrian safety. Cities across Canada and throughout the United States have banned right-hand turns on reds, but this basic principle has not reached the streets of Toronto in an impactful manner.  

Do you think right-hand turns on red lights should be prohibited? What is the future of Vision Zero post-2021? Tell your Councillor what you would like to see in your community! 

8 80 Cities has piloted the first-ever Vision Zero Pop-up called 8 80 Streets – check it out and advocate for change in your community.


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