Rules of the Road: Do bicyclists need to obey stop signs at trail crossings?




Question: Do bicyclists need to obey the stop signs at the trail/street crossings where posted? Do they need to wait out traffic if refusing to dismount?

Answer: The stop signs I believe you are referring to were posted on the trail crossings where there is limited sight distance to see bicycles or pedestrians as they approach the road. The bicycles need to stop at the sign to allow drivers to see them and respond. The drivers then need to stop to allow the bicycles or pedestrians using the crosswalk to cross.

Q: When traffic is heavy on the freeway, like bumper-to-bumper, how can you merge when they don't back off a little and give you space to merge? They have the mind-set that they have the right of way.

A: I am not sure how to answer your question. The vehicles on the freeway do have the right of way. They should not be following so closely that vehicles that are merging from the on-ramp are prohibited from doing so. As I accelerate on the on-ramp to match the freeway speed (or lack of), I signal my intention to merge and have always found a courteous driver that allowed me to do so. In 44 years of driving, I have never been prevented from merging onto the freeway.


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.

For previous Rules of the Road columns or to ask a question, go to

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