It feels like Aberdeen’s new bus gates have been top of the agenda for weeks now — but no one really talks about the new right turn ban on one of the city’s busiest routes.
Last month, Aberdeen City Council workers laid down the lines and erected signage for a new bus priority route.
Three new bus gates were installed on Bridge Street, Guild Street and Market Street, causing chaos and confusion across the city.
At the same time, signs were put up at the traffic lights on Union Terrace banning drivers from turning right onto Rosemount Viaduct.
Buses, taxis, cyclists and authorised vehicles are exempt from the new rule.
This new restriction forces drivers to turn left, and for some, it can make them take an even longer detour because of the ban on turning right onto Skene Street.
But unlike the bus gates, I haven’t really heard that many people talking about this new right turn ban.
And even those who were aware of it didn’t know exactly what the penalties were.
So, I went to sit down by a large window in the Common Sense coffee shop to watch the flow of traffic on Union Terrace, and see how many rulebreakers I could spot.
Setting a timer for an hour, I wasn’t really sure just how many people would still be making the mistake nearly a month on from the signs going up.
I can’t lie, I was pretty surprised by the results.
How many drivers made the right (wrong) turn?
Within the first 20 minutes, 10 people driving cars and four van drivers had broken the ban and turned right.
I hadn’t even finished drinking my latte by that point.
Within the hour, I counted 20 cars and 10 vans turning right from Union Terrace onto Rosemount Viaduct.
This number feels a bit too exact, I even found myself watching on for a few minutes longer just to see if someone might turn right to make it an odd number, and perhaps a bit more believable.
But alas, 30 drivers broke the ban in 60 minutes — that’s one person making the mistake every two minutes.
From my vantage point, I spotted an Aberdeenshire Council van make the turn as well as one from Royal Mail.
I also witnessed the moment some realised their mistakes.
One man driving a van gestured wildly at the new signage, clearly confused by it, before still making the turn.
And at least two others caught themselves just in the nick of time and, despite indicating right, made a sharp swerve left.
It looked pretty clear that drivers weren’t noticing the new signs in place — at least not in enough time.
What happens if you turn right at Union Terrace?
The new ban on turning right is enforced by the police and is considered to be a road traffic offence.
A spokeswoman for the force said officers monitor the no-right turn while patrolling the streets, but they also use stationary cameras at the traffic lights.
Anyone caught breaking the rule could be fined £100 and earn three points on their licence.
In my opinion, it isn’t very clear when you turn onto Union Terrace from Union Street there’s a new restriction in place.
Aberdeen City Council put up temporary LED signs to warn people about the new bus gates, but there isn’t one that I could see drawing attention to the ban on turning right from Union Terrace onto Rosemount Viaduct.
With no warning sign ahead of the junction and no new road markings, it’s no wonder some people are making the mistake.
Especially if they’re stuck behind a double-decker bus and not quite able to see the signage.
A spokeswoman for Aberdeen City Council said: “The enforcement of a right turn ban sits with the police, which is an endorsable offence where points can be awarded.
“This measure is part of the Experimental Traffic Regulation Order and therefore once the signing and lining was in place, the restriction became enforceable.”
And here’s everything you need to know to avoid a fine at Aberdeen’s new bus gates: