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Old 02-20-09, 03:18 PM   #1
unixpro
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Riding across the top of a T intersection

My regular commute takes me down Lake Washington Blvd. from Bellevue into Renton. During that ride, I pass across a number of T intersections, always going across the top of the T when heading South. I noticed something yesterday and this morning and was wondering if it meant anything.

The striping on the road on the side with the top of the T stops at the bike lane. That is, when riding north on the street, the stop line for the intersection goes all the way through the bike lane. Going south, it does not. Does this mean that I don't have to stop for those intersections?

I noticed the same thing going down Park, near the Boeing plant. The roads that are T intersections do not have stop lines into the bike lane.

This seems intentional. Thoughts?
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Old 02-20-09, 05:43 PM   #2
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I've always assumed that when you're riding through the top of a T intersection on the shoulder/bike-lane, you don't have to stop because there's no intersecting traffic. But if you're riding in the lane or heading in the direction that crosses the intersecting street, you need to do whatever cars would be required to do.
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Old 02-20-09, 06:44 PM   #3
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There was an article in the Times a few weeks ago about bike laws. In Seattle you are required to stop at those intersections. You might want to check with the jurisdictions they are in since every one is different. Honestly it sounds like you can ride through them, with caution of course.
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Old 02-20-09, 06:58 PM   #4
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If there is a stop sign/light you are required to stop.
RCW 46.61.050

Obedience to and required traffic control devices.


(1) The driver of any vehicle, every bicyclist, and every pedestrian shall obey the instructions of any official traffic control device applicable thereto placed in accordance with the provisions of this chapter,...
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Old 02-21-09, 12:12 AM   #5
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This seems to be common. I've noticed the same thing. I guess you need to ask what would happen in a cycling only scenario.

Would you stop if the light was green for a cyclist coming from your left? The traffic control device would give them ROW.
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Old 02-21-09, 10:12 AM   #6
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You raise a good point, gritface. I hadn't thought of that.

The RCW is the fallback law for the state. It can, and often is, overridden by local jurisdictions. See the laws about riding on the sidewalk within Seattle city limits, for example.
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Old 02-21-09, 11:42 AM   #7
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I'd be worried about people making wide left turns from the other side of the "T" into the bike lane not expecting you to be there. It does sound like you might be able to carefully roll through though if there aren't any cars.
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Old 03-30-09, 11:40 AM   #8
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as long as it's legal (and safe) where you are, I'd roll up onto the sidewalk before the intersection and back down onto the road after it. YMMV
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Old 03-30-09, 06:42 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unixpro View Post
My regular commute takes me down Lake Washington Blvd. from Bellevue into Renton. During that ride, I pass across a number of T intersections, always going across the top of the T when heading South. I noticed something yesterday and this morning and was wondering if it meant anything.

The striping on the road on the side with the top of the T stops at the bike lane. That is, when riding north on the street, the stop line for the intersection goes all the way through the bike lane. Going south, it does not. Does this mean that I don't have to stop for those intersections?

I noticed the same thing going down Park, near the Boeing plant. The roads that are T intersections do not have stop lines into the bike lane.

This seems intentional. Thoughts?

I've always been under the impression that those particular t-intersections do not require cyclists to stop. As you say, those lanes have been deliberately marked that way, in contrast to the markings of the bike lanes on the northbound side.

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Old 03-30-09, 06:44 PM   #10
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as long as it's legal (and safe) where you are, I'd roll up onto the sidewalk before the intersection and back down onto the road after it. YMMV
Unixpro is riding in an area where there are no sidewalks, so that would not work very well.

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Old 04-01-09, 12:09 PM   #11
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Ah, well that changes things then...
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Old 04-01-09, 12:49 PM   #12
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perhaps they don't paint that area so it isn't slick for stopping cycles?

i would guess that since a bike must follow the same laws as a car when on the road, running this would be the same as a car running the stop sign. my $0.02..
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Old 04-01-09, 04:31 PM   #13
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perhaps they don't paint that area so it isn't slick for stopping cycles?

i would guess that since a bike must follow the same laws as a car when on the road, running this would be the same as a car running the stop sign. my $0.02..
I don't think so. There are a couple of spots on the southbound side which are indeed painted for cyclists to stop, but not at the T-intersections.

If you go to Google Earth and look at the intersection of Lake Wash Blvd and North 33rd in Renton, you will see an example of the markings. There is a definite stop mark on the northbound side, and a definite absence of such a stop mark on the southbound side.

I suppose the local authorities could let us know for sure...
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Old 04-01-09, 04:39 PM   #14
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I suppose the local authorities could let us know for sure...
all we need is for someone to try this in front of a cop, and see what happens...

then again, sometimes even LEOs don't know the (exact) law!
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Old 04-01-09, 05:14 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by unixpro View Post
The striping on the road on the side with the top of the T stops at the bike lane. That is, when riding north on the street, the stop line for the intersection goes all the way through the bike lane. Going south, it does not. Does this mean that I don't have to stop for those intersections?
I drive a bus through an intersection like this in Redmond. (Eastbound 520 offramp to West Lake Sammamish Parkway). The stop bar is definitely missing from the bike lane so I would also assume that the red light does not apply to that lane.

That said, I would urge you to be VERY careful. In the example I have given above, there are two left turn lanes. Most vehicles will be focusing on the turn itself as well as other cars in the turn - not the bicycle lane. If somebody doesn't maintain their lane in the lefthand left turn lane, it's very tempting for the vehicle in the righthand left turn lane, though stupid, to fade out to the bicycle lane to avoid a collision with the car to their left. There is also a blind spot there once you have entered the turn. I specifically look for bicyclists there but it's hard to keep the lane in sight while turning.

Legal? Possibly. Smart/safe? Maybe, when there are no vehicles in or about to enter the turn. If there are vehicles in the turn watch them carefully.
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Old 04-01-09, 07:26 PM   #16
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Bussbiker hit it dead on. My afternoon commute takes my on the top of a T on Greenlake, and I always blow through the light, as long as I dont end up with a car turing right next to me. I learned that lesson when I had to hop the curb in order to avoid getting squished by a school bus that wondered into the bike lane.
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Old 04-09-09, 10:05 PM   #17
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Typicaly the stop bar is painted from the fog stripe to the center line. At least thats the state standard. I would argue that since there are no traffic conflicts outside the fog line on the top of the t that stoping is not required, would a cop buy it? hmmm.
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Old 04-14-09, 12:36 AM   #18
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I stop at Ts like that every day.
Last week I stopped and another cyclist rushed past me looking back and yelling "DON'T STOP" as if I had done something wrong.
While yelling back at me he came within 6 inches of his bars striking a woman crossing the street in the crosswalk, and he lurched sideways, wobbled into the curb, and went into the grass.

I "DIDN'T STOP" to see if he was alright as I passed him when the light turned green.
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