Question: There are a few metered parking spots downtown that say "motorcycle only." I see cars parked there all the time. Is this legal?
Q: When biking, you are supposed to be as far to the right as you feel safe. You also are supposed to obey traffic laws. If the right lane is about to be a right-turn-only lane, how soon is it appropriate to move into a middle lane?
Specifically, on State Street heading north, the right lane will turn toward Iowa Street and the middle lanes continue to James Street. The three intersections before then can be tricky to catch all green lights, and they are typically red lights at every stop when biking or driving a car. Is it appropriate to move over early, or is it supposed to be a last-minute move to the left part of the right-turn-only lane and make sure the middle lane cars are not turning right?
A: You are correct in stating you should be as far to the right as you feel safe. You also are correct in that you need to obey the traffic laws.
For that intersection, my suggestion is to move into the center lane at some point after passing Ohio Street. You can move to the left when you can safely make the merge, just as a car would do.
The problem with only moving to the left portion of the right-hand lane is that the center lane from State Street is also allowed to turn right onto Iowa. If the driver in the center lane is planning to turn right onto Iowa, he or she would not be expecting you, in the right-turn-only lane, to be proceeding straight through the intersection onto James.
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.
To ask a question, go to bellinghamherald.com/ask-a-question.
David Wright is a retired officer from the Bellingham Police Department who is now serving on the Whatcom County Traffic Safety Task Force.