Rules of the Road

Rules of the Road: Advice when you’re tailgated in HOV lane

When you’re in the carpool (HOV) lane and someone is tailgating you, they need to move right into the “fast” lane to pass.
When you’re in the carpool (HOV) lane and someone is tailgating you, they need to move right into the “fast” lane to pass. The News Tribune

Question: When I’m driving on Interstate 5 south of Everett with my family or co-workers, I’ll often use the HOV lanes. I’ll admit to “pushing” the speed limit as much as 5 mph over in this lane, but never under. My question is: When people who choose to “push” the speed limit more than me end up riding my bumper in this lane, am I obliged to:

1. Merge to the lane to the right, which is going even faster, or

2. Sustain speed and assume the tailgater must merge right if they want to go faster, or

3. Drop to the speed limit and relish in their dumb misery, or

4. Pretend I’m a Canadian truck driver and straddle both lanes so no one can pass.

Answer: When you are in the HOV lane, and you are “pushing” the speed limit slightly, the vehicles that are wishing to go faster need to pass you by moving into the “high speed lane” to continue. So in order 1) No, you don’t need to move, they do; 2) Yes, maintain your speed and they should move right to pass; 3) No, that just causes road rage issues that become even more of a problem for all involved; and 4) No, that could result in a ticket for failure to stay in your lane.

Question: I was driving downtown on State Street going toward Fairhaven. While State is one way there, a bicyclist was riding in the bike lane going the opposite direction of traffic. Is it legal to ride in the bike lane on a one-way street going against traffic?

Answer: Bicycle lanes are there to give bicycles a safe(r) place to ride. They are still required to follow the rules of the road, so no, riding in the bike lane on a one-way street going against traffic is not legal and is still subject to a ticket.

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 recently served on the Whatcom County Traffic Safety Task Force. A new columnist will appear later this month to answer traffic questions. For previous Rules of the Road columns or to ask a question, go to bellinghamherald.com/news/traffic/rules-of-the-road/.

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