Here is another friendly reminder regarding the rules of the road to share with friends and family this summer.
Because being on the inside of a turning car is one of the most common causes of injury for cyclists across the country, our friends at the Fairfax County Department of Transportation offer the following advice for dealing with bike lanes when turning right.
Obviously, any vehicle turning right should do so from the right most lane. Where a bike lane is present, it is usually the right most lane. Everyone needs to recognize that a bike lane is a traffic lane and should be treated as such by anticipating that there will be moving bicycle traffic in the lane. When approaching an intersection drivers should signal and when clear, merge into the bike lane before turning right. Many bike lanes indicate this area—called a mixing zone—with a dashed white line. If there is a separate turn lane to the right of the bike lane, motorists should clear the bike lane and move fully into the turn lane.
For cyclists approaching an intersection, be on the lookout for turning drivers. If a car is ahead of you and turning right but is stopped to allow pedestrians to cross the street, merge into the traffic lane to the left, if possible, and proceed straight through the intersection. If unable to merge left, then slow down or stop as needed until the car turning right clears the bike lane and allows you to proceed.
No doubt, congestion and the pace of modern life make using the road difficult and frustrating. Everyone—cyclists and motorists—will be better off if we prioritize safety and courtesy and, in the literal and figurative sense of the phrase, “look out for each other.” Do your bit, and please share this information with others.