Have you noticed all the new signs around town relating to the legality or illegality of u-turns at various intersections? It seems like they are popping up everywhere. What gives? I had noticed what seemed like a change in the city’s attitude a couple years ago. Back then, I remember for the first time seeing signs that explicitly condoned u-turns. There’s a spot just south of 27th and Highway 2 that comes to mind, but I know there were one or two others as well.
When I was growing up, I remember hearing people talk about how lame it was that Lincoln was so strict about u-turns. “You can do a u-turn in every other city!” was a common complaint. Did something change?
Indeed it did. Apparently, the City Council changed the Municipal Code (PDF) to allow u-turns back on December 19, 2005. I don’t remember reading about the change in the Journal Star or hearing about it on the news. A quick search of the LJS’s website doesn’t turn up any relevant results. So apparently I’m not the only one who missed the change.
For your information, here are some basic rules (PDF) governing u-turns in Lincoln:
- U-turns are legal at street intersections or median crossovers, unless prohibited or regulated by signage or some other indication;
- If you can’t make the turn in one continuous movement, it’s not a legal u-turn;
- You can’t do a u-turn for the purpose of entering a parking space on the other side of the street;
- U-turns are illegal within specified “congested districts”;
- Bicyclists are not affected by these restrictions so long as they first yield to vehicles with the right-of-way.
So there you have it. Feel free to turn thyself around!