Have you ever wondered why you can't turn left on red to a one-way street in South Dakota that goes left, just like a right turn on red? Actually, you can.

Numerous times, I have been sitting in the far left lane at a stoplight in downtown Sioux Falls wanting to turn left, but I can't because they have that sign up at every intersection downtown that says "NO TURN ON RED."

Google Street View
Google Street View

Today I stumbled across an interesting tidbit of South Dakota law about that very subject. Under SDCL 32-28-4.1, a municipality could allow a left turn onto a one-way that is flowing to the left of the driver.

The governing body of a municipality may authorize by ordinance, adopted pursuant to chapter 9-19, a motor vehicle to make a left-hand turn from an intersection after stopping in obedience to a red or stop signal as defined in § 32-28-4. This left-hand turn may only be authorized for a motor vehicle which has stopped in the extreme left-hand lane lawfully available on a one-way roadway and intends to turn on to a one-way roadway in which the direction of traffic is moving to the left of the motor vehicle. In addition such turns may only be made after yielding the right-of-way to pedestrians or other traffic proceeding as directed by the signal at the intersection. A violation of such restrictions is a Class 2 misdemeanor.

Obviously, this does not mean that the "NO TURN ON RED" signs in downtown Sioux Falls are illegal and should be taken down. It would give the city the ability to make it so left turns on if it chose. That is unlikely considering that there have been serious injuries and even fatalities on crosswalks downtown in the past.


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