Question: When on the freeway in a carpool lane, if you are traveling the speed limit and you have cars behind you that want to drive faster, should you be the one to move out of the carpool lane to let them by, or should they move into the fast lane to pass you on the right side?
Answer: If you are traveling the speed limit in the HOV lane, you are legally entitled to be there. Cars that wish to drive faster may then pull into the high-speed lane to pass you. The HOV lane is designed to move larger numbers of people at the speed limit. The left lane (in this case the lane to the right of the HOV lane) is for drivers who are driving faster than the rest of traffic.
Q: Do I ever have to stop when turning right from the Meridian Street Interstate 5 exit? There's no stop sign, yield sign or marked crosswalk for that lane. It's my understanding that the traffic light doesn't apply to it. Since it's a blind corner for cars coming down that exit, I almost hit a lady on a bike who was traveling very fast on the sidewalk and didn't even stop before attempting to cross my lane. There's no way I could have seen her coming. If I'd hit her would I have been legally liable?
A: When using the I-5 northbound exit onto Meridian, you do have a lane of your own to pull into. You do not need to stop for the stop light at the bottom of the off-ramp if you are making the right turn in the right lane. You do need to stop for any traffic that may be in front of you and for people that are using the crosswalk. In the situation you describe with the bicycle, make sure that you have all the witness names that see the crash. There is an RCW (46.61.235 subsection 2) that has been quoted several times that makes it illegal for a bicycle or a pedestrian to "suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk, run, or otherwise move into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to stop." But you also must use due care and caution when making that turn. As to the legally liability, that is determined by a judge or jury.
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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.