Question: When traveling west on Sunset Drive in Bellingham after crossing James Street there are two lanes that eventually merge into one. When merging, which lane should yield? I see no signs to indicate which lane has the right of way.
Answer: As you approach that intersection and the merging lanes on Sunset Drive, there is (or has been) a sign that shows the right lane ending. The vehicle in the right lane needs to signal and merge into the left lane. I frequently see drivers in the left lane make it difficult for the vehicles in the right lane to merge. This just seems to bring everyone to a crawl instead of allowing the merge to happen and being delayed to the next stoplight by seconds.
Q: Do drivers have to yield to pedestrians in store entryway cutouts? I was nearly hit by a minivan while I was walking through a cutout. The driver didn't even appear to see me, nor did she acknowledge my yelling at her to pay attention. Was she right to ignore me or should I have reported her to the non-emergency number?
A: To clarify, if by the entryway cutout you are referring to the section that allows a vehicle to enter into a parking lot from a street, then yes, the driver needs to yield to you. Those "cutouts" are in the sidewalk where the pedestrian has the right of way. It sounds like the driver was not paying attention to driving.
As far as reporting her, no enforcement action would be taken. It might help the police department to pattern an area that this happens in to increase some patrol.
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.
Answers come from David Wright, a retired officer from the Bellingham Police Department who is now serving on the Whatcom County Traffic Safety Task Force.
To ask a question, go to http://www.bellinghamherald.com/ask-a-question/.