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Old 06-14-11, 04:44 PM   #1
Santaria
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Texas statute for using a bike lane to turn right?

I'm trying to find the law for Texas where it says exactly how a car can use the bike lane to make right turns. I swore it was within 25 feet of an intersection, or something close to that.

I checked the Texas DMV Drivers Handbook and it doesn't actually say anything.


Anybody?
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Old 06-14-11, 06:22 PM   #2
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Texas law doesn't really say anything about bike lanes at all -- it acknowledges that parts of the road may be dedicated to bicycle use in a place or two, but doesn't further define or regulate such parts of the road.

You'll need to look in your local ordinances to find what you're looking for (if it exists at all -- it doesn't seem to exist in the Austin ordinances, anyways. Instead, bike lanes typically disappear near intersections here, leading to the same end result.)
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Old 06-14-11, 07:01 PM   #3
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The distance should depend on traffic, including bike traffic, and not on an absolute distance. The driver should merge toward the curb when approaching the intersection. He must merge right when a gap in bike lane traffic allows, the distance at which he cannot control. Also, if other traffic is backed up for a traffic signal or other source of congestion, he will be farther back. If traffic is light and he has enough distance to safely pass a cyclist before reaching the intersection, he may merge right closer to the intersection. However, under most conditions this distance will be much greater than 25 feet, especially where speeds are over 25 mph.
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Old 06-16-11, 04:59 PM   #4
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The Transportation Code does not, to the best of my researching abilities, address that issue. However, many municipalities take it up themselves. For example, the City of Austin has local ordinances that govern bike traffic on city streets. Most mandatory right turn lanes have signs advising motorists to yield to cyclists but also designating through lane painting and signs where the bike lane officially "ends" which are the only areas the vehicle is legally permitted to cross to turn right. Of course, as I'm sure most can surmise, about the only motorists I see who respect those areas seem to be vehicles that have bikes racks on their cars. Austin also recently implemented a new law that gives cyclists the exception to turning right when the right lane becomes a mandatory right turn PROVIDED there is a sign stating bicycles are exempt. To up the odds in the cyclists favor they are painting these lanes with a lime green lane going through the intersection. Of course, I'm sure the motorist who ignore those them anyway, think to themselves, "look they painted a wide green stripe on the road -- what's that about."
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Old 06-16-11, 06:30 PM   #5
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I have wondered this myself, not for my own well-being, but for those that do use the bike lanes. If vehicles are allowed to do that, that is in a sense saying that the driving public have an extra lane to use, regardless of its' intended purpose and who might be using it at that time.
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Old 06-16-11, 07:55 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Chris516 View Post
If vehicles are allowed to do that, that is in a sense saying that the driving public have an extra lane to use, regardless of its' intended purpose and who might be using it at that time.
But on the other hand, if they aren't allowed to do that, that means they're turning right from a lane that's not the rightmost lane, often across the path of cyclists that they didn't notice or thought were "way back there". I think that's worse.

Austin handles it by ending bike lanes before intersections and starting them up afterwards. Some other places handle it by letting cars turn right from the bike lanes.
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Old 06-16-11, 10:19 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by dougmc View Post
But on the other hand, if they aren't allowed to do that, that means they're turning right from a lane that's not the rightmost lane, often across the path of cyclists that they didn't notice or thought were "way back there". I think that's worse.
Exactly

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Austin handles it by ending bike lanes before intersections and starting them up afterwards. Some other places handle it by letting cars turn right from the bike lanes.
I've noticed this almost everywhere, although I cross a busy intersection daily with bike lanes that run right up to the stop sign (4-way stop). This is the one place on my route where I get the most confused looks and hesitations from people driving cars. Some turn right in front of the bike lane, but I hardly ever see a car actually merge in the bike lane to turn right unless they are trying to avoid traffic in the other lane... Even cars traveling in the same direction as me (straight) will sit there and wait for me to go first, like I'm going to turn left from the bike lane.

On this same road (not at an intersection), I've had drivers speed past me to turn right and then sit there in the middle of the traffic lane because they suddenly become afraid that they will hit me (I thought they had plenty of time to turn ahead of me). The last time this happened, I looked back for traffic, and then merged in the lane behind them. My way of telling them "look, I'm not gonna pass you on the right and trust that you won't plow me over, just make your freaking turn already". They still sat there at a dead stop so I passed them on the left in the turn lane. Could have been avoided if they had safely merged into the bike lane to make their turn.

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Old 06-17-11, 06:19 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris516 View Post
I have wondered this myself, not for my own well-being, but for those that do use the bike lanes. If vehicles are allowed to do that, that is in a sense saying that the driving public have an extra lane to use, regardless of its' intended purpose and who might be using it at that time.
And we have numerous intersections in town where the vehicles do just that, move over into the bike lane waiting until the light changes or traffic clears so they can turn right. The need to install those soft barriers along the sections of the bike lanes so vehicles cannot just use them as an additional lane.
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Old 06-17-11, 07:35 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ladyraestewart View Post
And we have numerous intersections in town where the vehicles do just that, move over into the bike lane waiting until the light changes or traffic clears so they can turn right. The need to install those soft barriers along the sections of the bike lanes so vehicles cannot just use them as an additional lane.
Drivers who merge into the bike lane to turn right are doing exactly the right thing. A right-turning driver must get all the way to the right before executing the turn, so as to deter passing on the right immediately before they turn right.

Any barrier added to the bike lane will not only endanger cyclists by increasing the likelihood of right hook collisions, but also create a fall hazard for cyclists.

If there is a cyclist in the bike lane, right-turning car drivers will decide whether to slow down and follow behind the cyclist, or pass the cyclist before merging over. This decision will depend on many factors, including the speed of the cyclist, the distance to the intersection, whether the driver will need to stop or slow at the intersection anyway, and other traffic. Drivers who merge into the bike lane a safe distance ahead of a cyclist or who drive slowly behind the cyclist when approaching a right turn are not a danger to the cyclist. Drivers who stay to the left of the bike lane before turning right are the ones cyclists should be worried about. Ending the bike lane prior to the intersection, assuming there is no right turn only lane to the right of the bike lane, is the ideal way to discourage drivers from turning right from the left side of bycyclists and to discourage cyclists from passing queued traffic on the right.
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Old 06-17-11, 10:47 AM   #10
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They need to install those soft barriers along the sections of the bike lanes so vehicles cannot just use them as an additional lane.
+1
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Old 06-17-11, 11:22 AM   #11
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I don't know if this will help as it's Maryland laws but here is what I wrote in reaction to a right hook crash http://www.baltimorespokes.org/artic...11030413431398 [Note: action is no longer appropriate and we did get the driver charged in this situation.]
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Old 06-17-11, 12:50 PM   #12
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Quote:
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The need to install those soft barriers along the sections of the bike lanes so vehicles cannot just use them as an additional lane.
I'm not sure exactly what barriers you're referring to, but all the barriers I'm aware of are dangerous to cyclists. And remember that Austin generally permits parking in bike lanes (some areas do have signs that prohibit this, but it's the exception rather than the rule), so keeping cars out of them may not be what the city wants to do.
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