Can you use a bike lane to turn right? This is a question that comes up often. Some think it's forbidden, while others say it should be allowed.
It has been hard for everyone to agree and many people think you should be able to use a bike lane to turn right. This discussion can get heated, so I thought I'd share a few thoughts with you.
The answer is yes, under certain conditions. If you are driving in the right lane and there is a bike lane to your right, it is okay to use this bike lane to turn right so long as it is safe to do so. You should not be using the bike lane to pass other cars or speed up.
Many drivers don't know this, so you might get some crazy looks. Just give them a smile and wave as you ride on by with your superior knowledge of bicycle infrastructure!
Did you know that the law encourages you to use a bike lane to turn right? Unfortunately, most people don't because they believe that it's illegal. However, section 21209 of the California Vehicle Code says that "No person shall drive a vehicle upon a bicycle path or trail or lane except when preparing for a turning movement within 200 feet from the intersection."
What is a Bicycle Lane?
Bike lanes are road lanes designated for use by cyclists. They are located on the right side of the road, next to the main vehicle lane. A bicycle lane is physically separated from motor vehicles by a stripe and, where necessary, additional elements such as curbs or parked cars.
Bicycle lanes are also called bike lanes or cycle lanes. Bicycle lanes are a bicycle facility that provides lateral separation between the bicycle lane and motor vehicle travel lanes or parking lanes. Other facilities include cycle tracks, buffered bike lanes, and bike routes.
Factors to Consider When Making a Right Turn on a Bicycle Lane
Bicycle lanes are a great addition to any road. They help keep cyclists safe from traffic and even reduce the chance of a collision with other vehicles. But that doesn't mean you can drive carelessly once you're inside one. Here are some factors to consider when making a right turn on a bicycle lane:
Always Use Your Signal
If you don't use your signal, other drivers won't know what you plan to do. This is especially important when turning right. If you turn right without signaling, drivers behind you may assume you are going straight instead of turning. This could lead to a collision or another serious accident.
Take the Lane in Advance
If there is enough room for a car and a bike side-by-side, it is okay to take the entire lane before your turn. However, if there isn't enough room, you should only take half of the lane so that cars can still pass by safely. Either way, this will let drivers know what your intentions are so they can adjust accordingly.
Check Your Blind Spot
Take extra care when turning right at an intersection. As you approach the intersection, take a look at the traffic in your rearview mirror. If there are vehicles behind you, try to catch their eye to make sure they see you indicating. Then, recheck your blind spots before you turn right.
When turning right into a driveway, crossing, or lane, ensure you have room to merge safely and that the traffic in the new lane will allow space for your bike.
Slow Down and be Cautious
This should go without saying, but we all know that some people on the road aren't paying attention. You can ensure that everyone on the street knows what you're doing by slowing down and perhaps even signaling your intentions to other drivers with hand signals.
Stop Before Proceeding
Do not immediately make a right turn when you reach an intersection. You need to slow down first so that you would not lose control of your bicycle and crash into another object or person.
Yield to Pedestrians
Just because it's called a "bicycle" lane doesn't mean it's for bikes only! If you see pedestrians crossing or crossing the street, don't try to sneak by them. Instead, come to a complete stop and yield until they finish crossing. A little bit of patience can go a long way towards keeping everyone safe on the roads.
Benefits of Bicycle Lanes
Bike lanes serve several important functions, including:
- Bicycle lanes improve safety by clearly separating motor vehicles and bicyclists.
- Bicycle lanes benefit all users of the road, including motorists. Studies have shown that motorists drive more slowly and safely when bicycle lanes are added to a street.
- Bicycle lanes reduce conflicts at intersections between bicyclists and motorists.
- Bicycle lanes help bicyclists maintain an appropriate speed for the roadway environment. When bike lanes are not used, bicyclists may be tempted to ride too fast for the conditions.
- Bicycle lanes provide a space for bicyclists to ride in on busy streets where there is no room for bicycles and cars to share the travel lane.
- Bicycle lanes encourage bicycling by boosting novice riders' confidence that they will be safe while riding on the street.
Between a Motorist and a Cyclist Who has the Right of Way in an Intersection?
Here's a question from a reader about a familiar situation: "There is a car on my left, and I am approaching an intersection. The car wants to turn right, so it stops in the bike lane before turning. Who has the right of way here? If I need to stop, do I stop behind the car?"
The answer depends on whether there's a bicycle box at the intersection. If there is, it's easy: The driver stops behind the bike box just like they would at any other intersection. They wait for you and any other cyclists in the bike box to proceed through the intersection first (be sure to use hand signals). Then, you can enter or exit an intersection safely because you're ahead of turning cars.
If there's no bike box at the intersection, things get more complicated because you're in a "mixing zone." This means that drivers and cyclists are sharing space — both are using their cars' turn signals and hand signals to communicate their intentions. Therefore, bicyclists should be cautious when entering intersections and crossing paths with turning cars. Where possible, ride slowly enough to stop if necessary; always be ready to brake.
Bike Lanes Law
The Oregon Law recognizes bicyclists as drivers of vehicles and gives them most of the same rights and responsibilities on the road as other drivers.
If a bicyclist is traveling at less than the average speed of traffic, they must ride as far to the right side of the road as is safe. If bicyclists are traveling at the same speed as traffic, they may ride in any lane.
The law also states that it is not safe for bicyclists to ride to the right side of the road. This is because of a paved shoulder drop-off, surface hazards, parked cars or other objects, moving traffic, the width of the lane, or road conditions, and they may safely ride farther left to avoid those hazards.
Bicyclists can leave the bike lane whenever necessary to avoid any safety hazards. Therefore, bike lanes should be used when available; however, if an intersection does not have a bicycle lane for you to use when you make your turn, you are allowed to make a turn from any lane at an intersection.
When a bike lane is available, and you are required to make a left turn, you must merge into a through vehicle lane before turning left.
Bike lanes are usually marked by a solid white line separating them from traffic lanes. Unlike turn lanes, you can generally use a bike lane to make your turn. However, depending on your city or state, there may be rules about when you can do so. Check the driver's manual for the area you are driving for more details.
About THE AUTHOR
Mountain biking is more than just a hobby for me - it's a way of life. I love the challenge and excitement that comes with it, and I'm always pushing myself to go faster and ride harder. Some people might think that mountain biking is dangerous, but I see it as the only way to live.Read More About Danny Lawson