Question: Is it legal to get off the northbound Interstate 5 Slater Road exit and instead of waiting in the long line to go left (west), to go right instead, go through the am/pm lot or do a U-turn to skip the line and go (west). All this does is prolong the wait for others who want to turn left but cannot due to traffic. I complained about this before, and they put a cop car there for a week but people still did it and the cop did nothing. I think a four-way stop would solve this problem.
Answer: The rules for U-turns are as below. In that area, it might be possible to find 500 feet of clear visibility, but I haven't measured. As far as using the am/pm lot, there is not an RCW against it that I could find. It is private property and am/pm might take issue with the lot being used as a short cut. Bellingham Municipal Code prohibits that movement within the city limits of Bellingham, but I have not found a county code against it.
The other option for doing what are generally considered dangerous movements is to either change your route to avoid the intersection for the 30 minutes a day it is a problem, or to just slow down and relax during your drive.
RCW 46.61.295 "U" turns:
(1) The driver of any vehicle shall not turn such vehicle so as to proceed in the opposite direction unless such movement can be made in safety and without interfering with other traffic.
(2) No vehicle shall be turned so as to proceed in the opposite direction upon any curve, or upon the approach to or near the crest of a grade, where such vehicle cannot be seen by the driver of any other vehicle approaching from either direction within 500 feet.
Q: Is it permissible to park in a loading zone in front of the Up & Up Tavern to pick up a preordered beer keg? The keg weighs about 100 pounds. The process takes about 10 minutes to complete.
A: It should be permissible to do that. What you might want to do is park in a metered area and go in to fill out the paperwork, then come to the loading zone to actually do the loading of your keg.
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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.