Rules of the Road

Rules of the Road: How do cars turn right at green bike boxes?

Question: As I understand it, the new green bike boxes give bicyclists legal carte blanche to pass, on the right, standing and moving traffic at an intersection. Seems this will make it difficult and dangerous for vehicles to make a safe free right or regular right turn because a bicycle could be passing on the blind side. Before this, bicyclists could not legally pass on the right at an intersection.

Answer: The green bike boxes are designed for bicycles to be able to come up and wait in front of traffic that is stopped for a red traffic light. Part of the idea is to make sure they are more visible to drivers. Bellingham has installed signs at areas of green bike boxes to note that drivers cannot turn right on a red light where the boxes are located. Drivers must have a green light to turn right there. Both bicycle riders and car drivers need to be aware of the traffic around them. Turn signals help everyone know the intentions of other drivers. Any turn or pass must be done safely, which means you must look for traffic.

Guide to driving them and other new bike markings

City of Bellingham video on the bike boxes

Rules of the Road is a regular column with questions and answers on road laws, safe driving habits and general police practices. David Wright answered these questions before finishing his time with the Whatcom County Traffic Safety Task Force. A new columnist is coming. For previous Rules of the Road columns or to ask a question, go to