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Ask RiotACT: Can a red light camera get you for a u-turn?

By Chris Mordd Richards - 15 July 2016 9

Ask RiotACT

So tonight I was travelling home, and I did a u-turn at an intersection which wasn’t marked with a no u-turn sign, and as I was almost all the way around, a big flash went off behind me.

I have only experienced something like that once before, the time I did 65 in a 60 zone past a red light camera.

So I am wondering, is it possible I triggered the red light camera from my u-turn?

The right turn signal was green for me, but was obviously red for the traffic waiting to head the same way I wanted to go.

If so, what is likely to happen? Nothing?

What’s Your opinion?


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9 Responses to
Ask RiotACT: Can a red light camera get you for a u-turn?
JC 2:55 pm 09 Oct 16

There are a couple of lights where the flash goes off automatically on every phase change. If I recall one was Gininderra drive. Believe they were to catch turning motorists where it becomes a bit harder to put in the sensors.

Must admit haven’t notice one for a while but then again I don’t drive the same roads since I moved home.

With these ones they were timed to go off at a given time past the red and always had two quick flashes.

Mordd / Chris Richar 2:23 pm 08 Oct 16

ML-585 said :

Since all ACT red light cameras double as speed cameras, it is possible that the flash was due to another car speeding through the intersection.

Did a fine eventuate?

It is possible but I did not see this. A fine did not eventuate, so I am fairly certain it was someone flashing their high beams at me to warn me I wasn’t allowed to do a u-turn there. Have become very aware of this since, and a bunch of times went to do a u-turn at lights recently, realised there was no sign permitting it, and instead turned into a side street and did a u-turn in an area where it is allowed instead then back on the main road and on my way. Might take an extra couple of minutes each time but better not to risk a fine for doing it illegally.

ML-585 10:25 am 08 Oct 16

Since all ACT red light cameras double as speed cameras, it is possible that the flash was due to another car speeding through the intersection.

Did a fine eventuate?

Mordd 12:32 pm 24 Jul 16

Mysteryman said :

As mentioned, the system usually uses sensors in the road just after the thick white line, and it looks for an event occurring there *after* the light has gone red. With that sensor alone, there’s no way of detecting a u-turn – it’d need a number of sensors that tracked the path of a u-turning vehicle.

With regard to the flash you saw, just keep in mind that I’ve heard of some people that if, say, they’re feeling maybe a bit bored and behind someone going towards a traffic camera, they’ll flash their lights just as the other car passes the camera.

Interesting. This was a blinding bright flash though, I have never experienced anything that bright before except when i got pinged by the red light camera. When a red light camera does go off at night, you damm sure know it has, that flash is intensely bright. It is possible I guess someone flashed their high beams at me as I completed the u-turn, maybe to warn me I shouldn’t have done that there? I will certainly not be making u-turns again unless permitted after this, i will turn at the right and u-turn in a side street instead as I could have done that night so I don’t break the law, lesson learned on that.

Russ 10:11 am 24 Jul 16

As mentioned, the system usually uses sensors in the road just after the thick white line, and it looks for an event occurring there *after* the light has gone red. With that sensor alone, there’s no way of detecting a u-turn – it’d need a number of sensors that tracked the path of a u-turning vehicle.

With regard to the flash you saw, just keep in mind that I’ve heard of some people that if, say, they’re feeling maybe a bit bored and behind someone going towards a traffic camera, they’ll flash their lights just as the other car passes the camera.

wildturkeycanoe 7:22 am 24 Jul 16

I was under the impression that the sensors on the road near a red light camera are in the middle of the road just after the stop line in the direction of travel of the red stop light. If you had a green arrow to turn right, in front of the camera, I doubt there would be any sensors tripped to instigate a camera flash. They only target cars that have passed over the stop line entering the intersection, not cars that are already exiting the intersection, so I would say you are safe because they will have no evidence showing you ran the red light. As for the illegal u-turn, that I can’t be certain of.

Mordd 9:59 pm 23 Jul 16

devils_advocate said :

I don’t know if the camera got you and I’m not 100% sure of the rules regarding U-turns, but a friend of mine who actually conducts driving tests explains it to me like this:

At a traffic light you cannot do a U-turn unless a sign allows you to.
At an intersection without lights you can do a U-yurn unless a sign prohibits it.

So I can’t answer your question but if my friend was right, you broke the law and the camera has picked you up then please pay up without a complaint.

Well it appears you may be right. I was under the impression it was only not allowed at traffic lights if specifically sign posted that you can’t, and that otherwise it is fine. I know I have seen other drivers (both as a passenger and as a pedestrian) make u-turns at lights without a sign permitting it, I wonder how common the knowledge is on this.

In which case it looks like I will be getting a fine, although can they fine for going through the red light or just for an illegal u-turn, which I presume is probably a lesser fine than going through a red light. Will just have to wait and see what turns up in the post I guess. Seeing as it appears I have done the wrong thing, I will cop it on the chin and pay the fine and maybe someone else who also doesn’t know this will learn from my mistake after reading this at least.

HenryBG 12:05 am 22 Jul 16

I once got snapped by a red light camera.
When I got the fine, I turned it over, then I wrote on the back of it in ALL CAPS WITH LOTSS OF MISPELLEINGS a big long sob story about how poor I was and about how it wasn’t my fault anyway because some guy in a van had jammed on his brakes in the middle of the intersection and I got stuck there while I changed down gears and in any case I had no money and my children were hungry and some more stuff.
Standard creative writing exercise, in other words.
Never heard back from them.

Spiral 1:03 pm 21 Jul 16

I don’t know if the camera got you and I’m not 100% sure of the rules regarding U-turns, but a friend of mine who actually conducts driving tests explains it to me like this:

At a traffic light you cannot do a U-turn unless a sign allows you to.
At an intersection without lights you can do a U-yurn unless a sign prohibits it.

So I can’t answer your question but if my friend was right, you broke the law and the camera has picked you up then please pay up without a complaint.

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