Denver7 | TrafficDriving You Crazy


Driving You Crazy: Is it legal to turn left on a red light onto a one way street?

"It feels sooo illegal, but I see people doing it all the time!"
Left on red
Posted at 4:42 AM, Mar 07, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-07 08:46:45-05

Alan from Denver writes,“What's driving you crazy? Is it legal to turn left on a red light onto a one way street? It feels sooo illegal, but I see people doing it all the time when I drive through downtown!”

This is a turn that I regularly do from southbound Logan Street to eastbound Speer Blvd and when I do, I always get strange looks. Assuming you stop to check for pedestrians and cross-traffic then yes Alan, it is legal to make a left on red but it has to be from a one-way street onto another one-way street.

The official law allowing that movement comes from Colorado State Statue 42-4-604 where it reads in subsection B: “… when proceeding on a one-way street and after coming to a stop, [a driver] may make a left turn onto a one-way street upon which traffic is moving to the left of the driver. Such turn shall be made only after yielding the right-of-way to pedestrians and other traffic proceeding as directed. No turn shall be made pursuant to this sub-subparagraph if local authorities have by ordinance prohibited any such left turn and erected a sign giving notice of any such prohibition at each intersection where such left turn is prohibited.”

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And on page 15 of the Colorado Drivers Handbook it reads, “…After stopping and yielding to pedestrians and other traffic, and if not prohibited by a traffic sign, you may turn right while the light is red. Also, you may turn left on a red light if you are turning from a one-way street onto another.”

Since this movement is stated in a state statute, the left on red is legal in any city or county in Colorado, not just Denver where the movement has been used most often.

Denver7 traffic anchor Jayson Luber says he has been covering Denver-metro traffic since Ben-Hur was driving a chariot. (We believe the actual number is over 25 years.) He's obsessed with letting viewers know what's happening on their drive and the best way to avoid the problems that spring up. Follow him on Facebook,Twitter or Instagram or listen to his Driving You Crazy podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, Spotify or Podbean.