Question: Could you please explain the guidelines for shared pedestrian use of the Interurban Trail, especially the use of the boardwalk in front of the Chrysalis? My daughter was nearly hit by a cyclist speeding toward us through heavy pedestrian traffic on the boardwalk and was told by another cyclist to watch where she was going.
Answer: 11.48.140 - Bicycles - riding on sidewalks (WAC 308-330-555). C. Whenever any person is riding a bicycle upon a sidewalk, such person shall yield the right of way to any pedestrian.
The "boardwalk" in front of the Chrysalis Inn and Spa would be classified as a multi-use trail designed for bicycle and pedestrian use. It can become a very crowded area, and it becomes necessary for pedestrians to be aware of the bicycles approaching them to allow them room to pass, but it also means the bicycle rider needs to be aware that the pedestrian may not hear them approach, so they need to ride in a controlled manner.
Q: When exiting the Whatcom Educational Credit Union parking lot onto Orleans Street there is a right-turn-only sign. I see people make lefts here all the time, because the sign doesn't seem to make any sense being there. The exit/entrance seems to be made for taking left turns onto Orleans. Is this just a leftover from years ago? I don't see police enforce this, so I am wondering if "right turn only" is even required here.
A: I also see people make left turns here all the time. I checked, and the signs are properly placed city of Bellingham signs. I don't know the reasons or roadway rules that traffic engineers use to determine when and where signs are placed, but this is an enforceable "No Left Turn" sign. As to why the police don't enforce it, I can't answer that question. You can be sure that if you are making a left turn from there and have a crash you will get ticketed for it.
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DAVID WRIGHT is a retired officer from the Bellingham Police Department who is now on the Whatcom County Traffic Safety Task Force.