Question: I have two quick questions for you if that’s OK. First, when are you required to signal, (I mean how far ahead of time)? Also, is there ever a time when drivers can legally turn left on a red arrow after stopping, like they do on right turns? Thanks!
Answer: For the first question, Minnesota law requires you to signal at least 100 feet before a turn. A turn would include a lane change or other change of course. For the second question, yes, believe it or not, there are times when a driver can legally turn left on a red arrow (but like you said, only after stopping) like they do on right turns. Let me explain those instances.
My translation of the law in one instance is when a motorcyclist fails to get a green arrow because the sensors failed to pick up the motorcycle and they sat through a couple red lights without getting the green arrow, or the signal is malfunctioning and it’s obvious that they are not going to get a green arrow. If that happens, the motorcyclist can make that left turn on a red arrow when it is safe and clear to do so and there is no sign prohibiting it, but only after coming to a complete stop first and waiting through a couple light cycles to be sure that they are not getting a green light. They cannot just come up to any red arrow and then turn after stopping, or even “rolling” through the stop light. I have seen that happen. That’s against the law and they will be charged for running a semaphore if they do that.
Another instance is when you are driving any vehicle from a one-way street to another one-way street requiring only a left turn. In that case, if the motorist stops, and there is no traffic, and there is no sign prohibiting the left turn on a red light, then a left turn can be made from that one-way road onto the other one-way road. I am personally not aware of any other instances that left turns can be made on red lights.