Rules of Road: Can I cross a solid white line while merging?

FOR THE BELLINGHAM HERALDJuly 15, 2013 

Question: Is it legal to cross the solid and the dash lines when entering the right lane to the freeway? If I wait for the lines to run out before merging, the cars behind me enter before me, then I have to wait for them to pass.

Answer: No. The solid line you speak of as you prepare to merge onto the freeway (the area that looks like it makes a triangle) that eventually stops at the actual freeway on-ramp is an area known as the "gore point." It is illegal to cross that area to enter or exit the freeway. It is also a very expensive ticket that can/will be written.

Q: What's the deal with all the parking spots reserved for "loading zone only" on Railroad Avenue in Bellingham? Parking is at a premium in this area, and these spots go virtually unused .

A: Loading zones are generally provided to allow traffic to continue to move while property is loaded or unloaded for a business. The Bellingham Municipal Code is as follows:

11.39.020 - STANDING IN LOADING ZONE (WAC 308-330-442)

A. No person shall stop, stand, or park a vehicle for any purpose or period of time other than for the expeditious unloading and delivery or pickup and loading of property in any place marked as a loading zone during hours when the provisions applicable to such zone are in effect. In no case shall the stop for loading and unloading of property exceed 30 minutes.

B. The driver of a vehicle may stop temporarily at a loading zone for the purpose of and while actually engaged in loading or unloading passengers when such stopping does not interfere with any vehicle which is waiting to enter or about to enter such zone to load or unload property.

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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.

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