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Home > Passenger Vehicles > Road Network > Road Signs > Right Turn on Red

Right Turn on Red poster - I put pedestrians first

The coming into effect of the right turn on red allows Québec to harmonize its regulation concerning vehicular traffic with that of other North American road authorities. It also presents a unique opportunity for Québec drivers to show their civic-mindedness and courtesy toward other road users.

The right turn on red is permitted throughout Québec, except on Île de Montréal and at intersections where road signs prohibit such turns.

To ensure the safety of all road users, the ministère des Transports du Québec and the municipalities may install a prohibitory sign at certain intersections. The decision to prohibit right turns on red lights may reflect one or more of the following criteria:

  • an insufficient visibility distance;
  • a restricted geometric development ;
  • an intersection presenting an unusual layout;
  • a pedestrian protected phase;
  • unusual manœuvres (as in the presence of two turning lanes);
  • more than three accidents over a period of twelve consecutive months caused by the right turn on red manœuvre (reevaluation criterion);
  • a significant number of pedestrians or cyclists likely to cross;
  • the proximity of a level crossing;
  • a conflict between the right turn on red manœuvre and movements of visually impaired people.

The municipalities are responsible for the management of 85% of intersections equipped with traffic lights and the ministère des Transports du Québec for 15% of such intersections.

Prohibitory Signs
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Traffic sign - Right turn on red light prohibited This sign prohibits right turns on red lights.
Tab sign - Duration of prohibition When the prohibition is of limited duration, this tab sign is attached underneath the prohibitory sign. It indicates the times at which the manœuvre is prohibited.

Motorists Obligations
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Before You Turn Right on a Red Light

Stop

  • It is compulsory to come to a full stop before you reach the stop line or the pedestrian crosswalk. Do not block the crosswalk.

Look Not Once But Twice

  • Make sure that right turns on red are not prohibited.
    • They are usually allowed at intersections, EXCEPT on Île de Montréal and at intersections where a road sign prohibits them.
  • Make sure that it is safe to turn right on red.
    • Give way to pedestrians or motorists and cyclists who have already entered or are about to enter the intersection. Pedestrians always have priority when the pedestrian crossing light authorizes them to cross. In the absence of such a light, they have priority when the traffic light is green.
    • Check your right rear-view mirror and check for blind spots to ensure that pedestrians or cyclists are not present.
    • Be especially cautious with respect to children, the elderly, visually impaired people, individuals with reduced mobility and pedestrians who are crossing the street slowly.

Decide

  • A right turn on red is a privilege, not an obligation. If you do decide to turn, only proceed if the lane is free.

Civic-mindedness and Courtesy

Do not honk at a motorist who decides not to turn right on a red light. Always display courtesy toward other road users.

Turning Right on a Red Light Is a Privilege

Be Patient with the Elderly

Elderly people usually walk more slowly than other pedestrians and may take more time to cross an intersection. Impaired vision may make it hard for them to assess distances, vehicle speeds and the time needed to cross the road. Hearing problems may distort their perception of traffic noise and prevent them from detecting danger. Crossing the road should not be a nightmare. Put yourself in their shoes.

Be Especially Cautious with Children

Children are small and less visible. They are also less attentive to traffic and may run across the street or between two cars. They are more vulnerable because their field of vision is limited. Their ability to anticipate events and make decisions is less developed than that of an adult. It is your duty to protect them.

Be Tolerant with Adolescents

Adolescents also have difficulty anticipating traffic movements. The use of skateboards, which is allowed on sidewalks, sometimes makes them careless. They do not always use crosswalks. Keep an eye on them as they are often reckless and unpredictable.

Be Courteous Toward the Visually Impaired

To cross an intersection using a white cane or a seeing-eye dog is a complex undertaking that demands a great deal of attention and concentration. At intersections, the visually impaired rely on traffic noise to determine whether the light is red or green. When vehicles stopped beside them start up, they know that the light is green and, at the same time, start to cross.

With right turns on red lights, they will have to be even more attentive to determine when the light turns green. If you advance and turn, they might wrongly think that the light is green and cross the road. When a visually impaired pedestrian is waiting to cross the intersection:

  • think first of the person’s safety and avoid turning right on the red light;
  • stop before the stop line and avoid blocking the crosswalk, since a visually impaired pedestrian may be forced into the path of oncoming traffic in order to get around your vehicle;
  • do not honk to help the pedestrian as the information that you wish to transmit is hard to interpret.

Be Patient and Tolerant Toward the Hearing Impaired

The hearing impaired cannot rely on traffic noise, which may explain why a pedestrian is hesitant to cross the street. Do not make life more difficult for them.

Keep an Eye on Cyclists

Cyclists move more quickly than pedestrians. They are less visible because they ride near cars and can suddenly appear out of nowhere. Be alert and vigilant.

Show Consideration for the Disabled

The use of a cane, crutches or a wheelchair slows their progress. Moreover, having to negotiate sidewalks is an additional obstacle. It is harder to see someone in a wheelchair than other pedestrians. Some people have trouble gauging traffic movements and speed.

Cyclists Obligations
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Cyclists, like motorists, can turn right on red lights, EXCEPT on Île de Montréal and at intersections where road signs prohibit such turns. However, be careful, since the same rules apply.

Stop

  • It is compulsory to come to a complete stop before you reach the stop line or the pedestrian crosswalk
  • Avoid stopping beside a truck or bus since you are outside the driver’s field of vision.

Look

  • Make sure that right turns on red are not prohibited and that it is safe.
  • Give way to pedestrians or motorists and other cyclists who have already entered or are about to enter the intersection. Pedestrians always have priority when the pedestrian crossing light authorizes them to cross. In the absence of such a light, they have priority when the traffic light is green.
  • Be especially cautious with respect to children, the elderly, individuals with reduced mobility and pedestrians who are crossing the street slowly. Pay close attention to visually impaired pedestrians accompanied by a seeing-eye dog or using a white cane.

Decide

  • A right turn on red is a privilege, not an obligation. If you do decide to turn, only proceed if the lane is free.

The Highway Safety Code

stipulates that cyclists must:

  • indicate their intentions over a sufficient distance to clearly alert motorists;
  • ride on the far right-hand side of the road, that is, in the same direction as traffic, EXCEPT when the lane is obstructed, they are riding on a bicycle path or they are about to turn left;
  • obey traffic lights, traffic markings and road signs;
  • use bicycle paths;

prohibits cyclists from riding:

  • on the sidewalk;
  • between two rows of vehicles travelling in the same direction. 

Pedestrians Obligations
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Pedestrians have priority and obligations.

Traffic control signal - Pedestrian crossing lightBefore Crossing at an Intersection

  • Stop on the sidewalk or on the shoulder of the road.
  • If there is a pedestrian crossing light, you have priority when the fixed silhouette appears. Otherwise, you have priority on the green light.
  • Avoid crossing when the pedestrian crossing light is flashing, whether or not there is a digital countdown, but do hurry if you have already started to cross.
  • Do not cross when the warning hand appears.
  • Look to your left, ahead of you and to your right, then over your left shoulder to ensure that a vehicle is not about to enter the intersection.

For Your Safety

  • Keep an eye on traffic, even at traffic lights, to ensure that motorists stop in time and give you priority to cross.
  • Never cross the street between two parked vehicles.
  • Establish eye contact with motorists before you cross.
  • In gloomy weather, wear light-coloured clothing or accessories or attach reflective strips to them.

The Highway Safety Code

stipulates that pedestrians must:

  • obey pedestrian crossing lights or traffic lights;
  • walk on the sidewalk or, when there is no sidewalk, along the edge of the road, facing traffic;
  • cross at an intersection when there is one nearby;

prohibits pedestrians from:

  • crossing an intersection diagonally, unless a police officer, a crossing guard or a road sign authorizes them to do so.
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