A wrench has been thrown at downtown drivers as the City of Winnipeg gears up to be more accommodating to cyclists.
Drivers have always been able to turn right on a red light in the Exchange District – but those types of turns are no longer allowed on several area streets.
The city installed no-right-turn-on-red signs throughout the area in recent weeks.
The city has been working on a pilot project to bring protected bike lanes to the Exchange, and will be unveiling a special set of traffic lights for cyclists to use in August.
The lights will be activated at multiple intersections along both Bannatyne Avenue and McDermot Avenue first.
A green bike signal gives cyclists priority to enter the intersection before drivers, and according to the city, the no-turning-on-red rule will help improve safety.
“In planning the project, we are trying to balance the need of all road users,” said Ken Allen with the City of Winnipeg.
“We are factoring in cyclists, but we are also taking into consideration motorists as well.”
At the moment, motorists have to wait more than a minute for the lights to turn green at Main Street and McDermot Avenue, which can be a frustrating ordeal when it was previously possible to make a legal turn.
The city said it is just a precaution to get motorists in the habit before the bike lanes open in the coming weeks.
“Any time that there a change, there is a period of adjustment,” Allen said.
“The no-right-turns-on-red are there to start familiarizing motorists with those restrictions that are now in effect.”