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Old 08-03-09, 01:40 PM   #1
surfengine
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correct left turn procedure

this is probably a common type intersection, but 1 in particular that I am never sure exactly the correct (safe) position to be in when crossing.

I want to make a left.
3 total lanes in my direction.
far right lane is right turn only.
middle lane is straight or left
far left lane is left only.

the green light is for left or straight. no oncoming traffic.

do I position myself directly in the middle of the middle lane? (just take the lane)

normally on left turns I take the outside of the furthest turning lane and skim the outside of the turn.
but in this situtation thats a bad place to be because someone could be going straight.
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Old 08-03-09, 01:47 PM   #2
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Take the middle lane.
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Old 08-03-09, 01:52 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by surfengine View Post
I want to make a left.
3 total lanes in my direction.
far right lane is right turn only.
middle lane is straight or left
far left lane is left only.
Take the middle lane and signal (left arm extended).
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Old 08-03-09, 02:05 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by surfengine View Post
This is probably a common type intersection, but one in particular that I am never sure exactly the correct (safe) position to be in when crossing.

I want to make a left. 3 total lanes in my direction. Far right lane is right turn only. Middle lane is straight or left, and far left lane is left only.

The green light is for left or straight. There is no oncoming traffic.

Do I position myself directly in the middle of the middle lane? (just take the lane)

Normally on left turns I take the outside of the furthest turning lane and skim the outside of the turn.
but in this situation that's a bad place to be because someone could be going straight.
I would position myself in the center of the right-most lane going in the direction I am traveling. In this case, the middle lane.

But watch out for scofflaw motorists who may try to pass you on your left when they are going straight.

It would be better to be in the left lane, but that would violate Texas FTR and SMV laws. (My state law, YMMV.)

If you decide to use the left "left-turn-only" lane, take the lane and leave a lane open to your right as you execute your turn. Check over your right shoulder and merge right when safe to do so.
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Old 08-03-09, 02:35 PM   #5
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Take the middle lane. It's not a comfortable situation in most cases, but it's the safest option. If you take the right lane, you risk crossing the path with drivers going straight in the middle lane and if you take the left lane you'll eventually have to get to the right again again, again crossing other vehicles' paths.
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Old 08-03-09, 02:42 PM   #6
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Take the left turn lane, get right in the middle of it. Do it early, calmly and predictably.

edit-Oops, after reading again, since middle lane is a left turn lane also, then yes, I agree with the others, use the middle lane, but get in the middle of the lane.
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Old 08-03-09, 02:44 PM   #7
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Use the middle lane (the combined straight and left turn lane). You may want to approach and start your turn in the left half of this lane if you want to discourage straight-traveling drivers from overtaking on your left. General rule for multi-destination lanes is to use the side of the lane closest to your intended destination. This is most applicable in wide lanes where cars may try to lane-share; in narrow lanes it can still be an issue if you've got other cycle traffic overtaking.

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Old 08-03-09, 04:57 PM   #8
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I encounter the same configuration frequently (w/b Encinitas Bl. @ Coast Highway 101, for those familiar with my neighborhood). I center myself in the left half of the left/through lane
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Old 08-03-09, 10:47 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by surfengine View Post
normally on left turns I take the outside of the furthest turning lane and skim the outside of the turn.
but in this situtation thats a bad place to be because someone could be going straight.
You ask a question, and then you provide the answer. Yep, take the lane. With no oncoming traffic, you won't be blocking the drivers behind you for long anyway.
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Old 08-05-09, 09:24 PM   #10
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In a situation like this, I do as sggoodri and John E do - I ride on the LEFT side of the middle lane since that's the rightmost lane that turns left. Motorists coming up behind you will understand you're going to turn left since you're on the left side of that lane and you have your left arm hung out. If you're in the middle or (worse) the right, they can get confused. One must be very clear with motorists. They get confused easily.
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Old 08-05-09, 09:28 PM   #11
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I just jump off my bike and become a pedestrian in sketchy situations. I hate riding in traffic because no matter who is right, the bicyclist loses when something happens.
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Old 08-05-09, 09:40 PM   #12
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I just jump off my bike and become a pedestrian in sketchy situations. I hate riding in traffic because no matter who is right, the bicyclist loses when something happens.
Right -- when in doubt, box turn. If spending some extra time to make a box turn means you might be a little later to your destination, then maybe you shoulda left sooner in the first place..
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Old 08-06-09, 07:15 AM   #13
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In a situation like this, I do as sggoodri and John E do - I ride on the LEFT side of the middle lane since that's the rightmost lane that turns left. Motorists coming up behind you will understand you're going to turn left since you're on the left side of that lane and you have your left arm hung out. If you're in the middle or (worse) the right, they can get confused.
I have a turn like this on my bike commute home. From left to right: left turn only lane, combined left turn and through lane, through lane, right turn only lane. I take the left side of the combined destination lane. No problems.

Note that there is another intersection a very short distance before this one. At that intersection there is no left turn allowed. I get in the left side of the left through lane which turns into the combination lane before the next intersection. Again, my position indicates my intent and discourages passing on my left.
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