Rules of the Road: Must bikes, bicyclists use reflective tape?

Question: Are there rules governing reflective tape on the bike or a person riding a bicycle? Too many times you have a person on a dark bicycle dressed in dark clothing. It is extremely hard to see these bicycle riders. Also on Holly Street, in particular, many bicycle riders fly down hills and through intersections with no hope of stopping or being able to maneuver in traffic should something or someone be in their path. What are the rules for speeds of bicycles as they move through city and county roadways?

Answer: There are no rules that govern reflective tape on either the bicycle or the rider. From a safety standpoint, bicycle riders should wear light-colored or reflective clothing.

From a legal standpoint, bicycles are required to obey the same rules of the road as any other vehicle on the roadway. This means they are required to stop for stoplights and stop signs. They must follow the speed limit signs (usually not a problem except for when they are coming down some of our hills). They are required to have a white light on the front of the bicycle during the hours of darkness (from a half hour after sunset to a half hour before sunrise) and at least a red reflector on the rear of the bicycle. RCW 46.61.780 talks about the required lighting.

Question: While traveling east on Barkley Boulevard, is it legal to turn left across double yellow lines and two westbound lanes into the parking garage under Scotty Browns restaurant?

Answer: In the case you describe, yes it is legal. The double yellow lines are less than 18 inches apart so they are not a “barrier.”