Question: I have a question about a yield sign on Main Street in Ferndale. Say I am driving west on Main Street by McDonald's and I merge into the right-hand turn lane, the one to get to the northbound on-ramp for Interstate 5. There is a yield sign there. If I have a green light, and so does eastbound traffic turning left onto the on-ramp, who has the right of way?
Answer: The yield sign as you describe it means that you need to yield to the other vehicle. There is one on the southbound on-ramp that has the same function. The reasoning behind it is to keep the intersection clear. The green light for the east/west traffic is a completely separate issue from the yield sign for the on-ramp.
Q: What are the rules for cycling on the shoulder of the freeway? I saw a sign on Interstate 5 that said bicycles must exit.
A: There are some sections of I-5 where it is legal to ride a bicycle on the shoulder. See RCW 46.61.160, Restrictions on limited-access highway - Use by bicyclists.
The sign that said bicycles must exit would indicate they are approaching an area (generally within a city with parallel surface streets or an area where it is considered too dangerous due to roadway design) where it is no longer legal for the bicycle to be ridden on the shoulder.
Q: Signs along the interstate say that vehicles pulling trailers are prohibited from using the left lane. Does "left lane" include the commuter lane or just the passing lane?
A: The commuter lane is not considered to be the left or "passing" lane. You must remember that all vehicles pulling trailers (this includes motor homes towing small cars or trucks) are required to follow the posted "truck" speed limit.
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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.