On a whim, I decided to stop for a moment at a busy corner on my route in and document all the cyclists coming by for about two cycles of the light. I can't be certain that I got everyone, but it's a nice sampling. At this corner it's a 50-50 mix of people coming in from Cambridge and points west and Somerville, and it's also about a 50-50 mix of people peeling off at MIT/ Kendall and people headed over the bridge into Boston.
|This woman was the only one to ask what I was doing-although a lot of people looked at me curiously|
That truck and that bus sure took their time in that five minutes. I'd try the same thing but you might see no cyclists at all.ReplyDelete
I noticed that the traffic lane is marked for right turns as well as straight, while it looks like the bike lane is painted solid to the intersection. If a bicyclist is going straight and the motorist is turning right, do you know who has the right of way at these locations?ReplyDelete
They are installing more of these in PA, DE and MD; I have not been able to get a clear explanation (including bike lanes to the right of RTOL lane on to interstates that prohibit bicycles).
Bicyclists have told me the right of way is unclear (ie don't count on it). DOT officials informally said bicyclists do not have the right of way, but may sometimes have permission to leave the bike lane depending on striping (actually not legally required in PA or DE). They said turning motorists have the right of way, but it's OK for bicyclists because motorists will often cede the right of way voluntarily.
There is a "no right hook" law in MA (cars need to yield to bikes when turning right). There is no statewide "mandatory sidepath" law, and although there's one on the books in Somerville, the police have formally stated that they will not enforce it, and the bike committee is working on getting it removed. In practice, you have to keep your eyes open and not ride into a right hook, but that's the case no matter if there's a bike path or not. However, there's such a volume of bicyclists here that most cars are very well trained to look and yield. I had two drivers check and yield to me this morning on my way in, although in one case, it seemed safer for me to merge and go to their left instead of passing through.ReplyDelete
Thanks for the comments on Mass in general and Somerville in particular. PA, DE and MD definitely do not enforce any "no right hook" law and over half the motorists believe bicyclists are required to yield, so I find almost none of the bike lanes are usable at more than walking speed.ReplyDelete
I live in south Jersey, and I do my best to avoid routes with bike lanes, as these tend to cloud "right of way" boundaries rather nicely. In non-bike route situations, it is illegal for a car to perform a "right hook" situation, as the motorist is overtaking the cyclist and turning directly into his path, which is a pointless maneuver and would clearly be illegal if we were talking about 2 cars here. If some guy passes you on the left and then immediately turns right and you hit him in your lane, he's at fault.ReplyDelete
Of course, it's all moot, b/c unless a cop is there to witness it, the responding officer will just take statements, write a non-informative report, and go about his/her day.
With bike lanes, which restrict a cyclist's options in regard to taking the lane in some cases, these things are harder to "read." Few bike lanes I've seen in NJ have the convoluted striping at intersections that allow for sensible maneuvers to enable both cyclists and motorists to safely remain straight or turn right without potential right-of-way conflict.