Advocacy & Safety - Multi-lane intersections - where to be?
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09-14-00, 12:01 AM
You're riding on a two lane road with a shoulder. At the intersection ahead there is a traffic light. The two lane road becomes an eight lane road, with no shoulder. There is a right turn lane, two straight lanes and a left turn lane. Also, the straight lane on the right ends about 50ft. after it crosses the intersection, fading back into the shoulder.
I often ride in these situations, angering drivers who are behind me. Would the law protect a rider struck by a car traveling across that intersection in the right lane? How do you find information about the law and bicycles?
The best place to look is the Dept of Motor Vehicles in your state. They may or may not have laws on the books. As a general rule you should be in the lane that is going straight ahead at intersections, not the right lane (turning) lane. I usually straddle the line to give the butt-heads plenty of room. They will still honk and wave the bird and other wise inform you of their ignorance. But, you are intitled to your share of the road! Some cops will support you.
09-18-00, 08:46 PM
The League of American Bicyclists has an excellent and inexpensive course called Road 1 (Effective Cycling) that covers this very thoroughly, among other important topics. I ride with much more confidence now that I know just where I should be and what my rights as a bicyclist are, not to mention having learned some safety maneuvers such as the instant turn.
Their website gives a page for course dates and locations, but most aren't listed there. Instead, it would be better to contact one of the instructors in your area, listed on this page: http://www.bikeleague.org/advocacy/adeci.html
Yes, EC courses are very good. I also recommend reading the "Three Gospels of John":
John Forester, "Effective Cycling"
John Franklin, "Cyclecraft" [Stationery Office, U.K.]
John S. Allen, "Street Smarts"
All vehicular cyclists advocate using a lane appropros to your intended direction of travel. At an augmented intersection such as you describe, the best position is generally in the right half of the rightmost through lane. This is also better for the motorists around you, who can complete right turns unimpeded.
The California Vehicle Code Summary / motorists' handbook has very good graphics showing vehicular cycling patterns, including left turns from the left turn lane, as well as alternatives, when traffic patterns preclude safe movement across several lanes.
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