Question: Are bicycle riders considered pedestrians? I have seen riders move from the street to the sidewalk at intersections so they are at the crosswalk but then ride their bike across the crosswalk. I also have seen people stop to let bikes cross the road when the bike is in the driving lane. When do we have to stop to let a bicyclist cross the street?
Answer: Sometimes. If a bicycle is being ridden on the street, it must follow all of the laws that a motor vehicle would follow. That means it must stop at signals, stop signs, etc., and should be treated as any other vehicle.
If a bicycle is being ridden on the sidewalk (where legal to do so), they must then follow the rules applicable to pedestrians, which means following the "don't walk" signs at crosswalks, and not leaving the safety of the sidewalk until vehicle drivers have sufficient time to see them and respond, etc.
Q: A driver waiting in the turn lane on Old Fairhaven Parkway to enter northbound Interstate 5 flipped me off when I did not wait for the turn lane to clear before entering onto the parkway from the northbound I-5 exit ramp driving toward Fairhaven. I thought I only had to wait for through traffic to clear before I entered onto Old Fairhaven Parkway and assumed he must yield to oncoming traffic. Am I correct?
A: This question has come up repeatedly. The vehicles that have absolute right of way in this area are the cars traveling east and west on Old Fairhaven Parkway.
Cars that are turning onto I-5 northbound must wait for any westbound vehicle to clear the intersection. Cars that are exiting I-5 and wish to turn onto Old Fairhaven Parkway must yield to any vehicles that are east- or westbound in front of them. The conflict at this intersection is the vehicles that are exiting the freeway may turn left and establish westbound lane use prior to arriving at the entrance point for northbound I-5.
ABOUT RULES OF THE ROAD
Rules of the Road is a regular column with questions and answers on road laws, safe driving habits and general police practices.
David Wright is a retired officer from the Bellingham Police Department who is now serving on the Whatcom County Traffic Safety Task Force.