Rules of the Road

Rules of the Road: Can I wait in intersection to make left turn?

Question: I’m coming up to an intersection with green lights for straight ahead and a green arrow for a left turn. When the arrow goes away and the signal is now a solid green, may I proceed into the intersection and wait until it’s safe to make a left turn?

Answer: This has been much debated here. Yes, in the circumstances you are describing you may enter the intersection to wait until it is safe to make the left turn, as long as the roadway you are turning into has room for your vehicle (it isn’t backed up with cars already) to turn onto it and clear the intersection. A second section of the RCW makes it illegal to enter the intersection if the roadway you are turning onto, or proceeding straight ahead on, is already full of vehicles and you are not able to clear the intersection.

Question: When I was a kid I was cited for riding my tote-goat scooter on a city street. I had crossed the road from one wooded trail to another but still got a ticket. I was issued the citation (as a 10-year-old) for operating a motor vehicle on a public roadway. Today I notice motors on skateboards, scooters, bicycles and wagons that seem to use the road and sidewalks without any enforcement action worries. Has the law changed to allow these vehicle to use the public rights of way? If so, could I ride my 4x4 quad for errands?

Answer: I am impressed. I was never legally allowed to cite children for traffic infractions.

As to your question, RCW 46.61.710 Mopeds, EPAMDs, electric-assisted bicycles, motorized foot scooters — General requirements and operation is what covers a number of the requirements to be able to use the motorized scooters, bicycles and skateboards on the public rights of way.

In general, it’s illegal to ride a motorized bike or scooter on a sidewalk. Restrictions also exist for trails.

There are no roadways, that I am aware of, in Whatcom County where it is legal to use a quad.

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