Rules of the Road

Rules of the Road: Can delivery trucks park in bike lanes?

Question: As a recreational biker, I often run into delivery trucks that park in marked bike lanes. I have had this happen frequently on Northwest Avenue near Yeager’s Sporting Goods. This causes the cyclist to drive into the traffic lanes. Are these vehicles breaking the law and if so, how do I report it?

Answer: The answer to this question comes from the Bellingham Municipal Code 11.33.060 Stopping, standing or parking prohibited in specific places – Reserving portion of highway prohibited. A. Except when necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic or in compliance with law or the directions of a police officer or official traffic control device, no person shall stop, stand, or park a vehicle: 37. Upon any designated bicycle lane.

As you can see, there are a number of prohibited parking locations in the code (as this is number 37). To report the issue, you would call the Bellingham Police Department, but unless the delivery vehicle is still there when the officer is able to stop by, nothing will happen. If you notice this usually happens on a specific day or time, you could let them know that information and they may be able to schedule that as an extra patrol for one of the parking control officers.

Question: Must cyclists obey traffic laws, both boulevard stop signs and traffic signals?

Answer: The short answer to this is yes. A bicycle under the following RCW is bound to follow the same rules of the road as a motorized vehicle. This means they must stop for stoplights and signs, as if they were driving a car.

RCW 46.61.755 Traffic laws apply to persons riding bicycles. (1) Every person riding a bicycle upon a roadway shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle by this chapter, except as to special regulations in RCW 46.61.750 through 46.61.780 and except as to those provisions of this chapter which by their nature can have no application.

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 serves on the Whatcom County Traffic Safety Task Force. For previous Rules of the Road columns or to ask a question, go to bellinghamherald.com/traffic.

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