This month's shift to Daylight Saving Time marks the unofficial start of biking season, and with it, this reminder when making a right turn: Check for bicyclists!
The correct way to turn right across a bike lane depends on where you're driving.
In both Washington and California, you'll want to check for and yield to bicyclists, then merge INTO the bike lane so you're making your right turn from the curb. The Bellingham Herald offers a good explanation, and it shows how this is one of the most confusing rules for sharing the road with bicyclists. (Case in point: This is a corrected version of our original article, thanks to a sharp-eyed Oregon reader.)
In Oregon, however, you may only cross the bike lane during the actual turn. You may not enter the bike lane in preparation for the turn. (It's spelled on out page 30 of the Oregon Driver Manual.) Check carefully and yield to bicycles to avoid a tragic "right hook" collision with a bicyclist in the bike lane.
Finding safe ways for cars and bikes to share the road is a great illustration of driving as a team sport. When we look out for each other and "give a little" for the sake of safety and courtesy, everyone's better off – whether we're on two wheels or four!
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BONUS TIP FOR SHARING THE ROAD WITH BIKES: DO YOU KNOW THE DUTCH REACH?
Reduce your risk of a bike vs. car-door collision with a technique called the
While we don't know if it's truly Dutch, we do think it's a great idea: After you've parked alongside the curb and you're ready to exit your car, reach for the door handle with your RIGHT hand. That brings your arm across your body and forces you to turn your shoulders and head. If a bike is coming up on your left, you'll see it before you open the door.
NOTE: While we're experts in loss prevention and home/auto safety, we don't consider ourselves experts in traffic laws or their enforcement. Information shared here is for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. If you have legal concerns, we urge you to contact a law enforcement source or attorney in your community.