San Francisco Driving Lesson: At Least One Left Turn per Light Cycle

That headline might be a little cryptic, but maybe you’re from out-of-town or something and you might benefit from the illustration below – it’s clear enough. The driver of this purple Toyota 4Runner truck just missed the chance to turn left legally because he didn’t commit to making the turn. The way to do that is to simply enter the intersection when the light turns green and then wait your turn to go left.

Maybe you’ll have to wait until the yellow or red light comes on, but that’s O.K. What you shouldn’t do is creep forward a couple of feet into the crosswalk and then sit there until the red and then wait for the light to cycle green again. Bad form. You’ll just be parked there all day that way. I cry foul.

You think you’re being safe, but you’re not. Intruding past the stop line before the green light and then into the crosswalk after the green light is also improper.

Just enter the intersection and you’ll be fine.

¡Bienvenido a San Francisco!

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4 Responses to “San Francisco Driving Lesson: At Least One Left Turn per Light Cycle”

  1. salsa says:

    Worse than people not pulling up: people starting their left turn before they can complete it, blocking the first oncoming lane when somebody there is making a left. Much of the time, the opposite car makes a left first, so then the asshole is blocking oncoming traffic.

    Pulling up == good, pulling up and left == YOU’RE AN IDIOT!

  2. sfcitizen says:


    Agree, just head into the intersection straight, wait until the red before turning, if necessary.

  3. Janet C says:

    And if it’s an intersection like say Mission at Cortland, or Mission at 30th, pulling far forward will possibly allow another car behind your own to turn left as well.

    Just saying…

  4. sfcitizen says:

    Testify, sister.

    At least one car per cycle, at a minimum.

    This intersection here should be able to handle at least three cars turning left each cycle.