Bicycles are treated as vehicles. You need to be aware of them just as you would for anyone else on the road. Motorists are required to yield the right-of-way to cyclists at intersections when passing and when turning. Bicycles are legally entitled to use an entire lane when making a left turn, passing, avoiding hazards, or when a lane is too narrow for the cyclist and a car to share it safely.
Leave at least three feet of clearance between the bicycle and their vehicle. Bicycles stop and maneuver more quickly than cars and trucks. If a cyclist has to swerve to avoid a hazard, you must be able to adjust to the sudden change. Leaving extra space between a motor vehicle and a bicycle is the best way to prepare.
Most car-bicycle collisions occur when a motorist is turning left in front of oncoming bicycle traffic. Other common causes of collisions include a motorist turning right across bicycle traffic and failing to yield the right of way to bicyclists crossing traffic at a stop sign.
The motorist bears the responsibility to see all oncoming traffic at intersections, including other motor vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians.
MOTOR VEHICLES IN BICYCLE LANES
Vehicles must not drive in a bike lane unless they are parking, turning right at a corner, or entering/exiting some other crossing, such as a driveway. When making a right turn under these circumstances, enter the bike lane to start your turn no sooner than 200 feet before the point at which you’ll make the turn. Always watch for bicycles and pedestrians before entering the bicycle lane.
You may not drive a motor vehicle in a bicycle lane except:
- To park where parking is permitted.
- To enter or leave the roadway.
- To prepare for a turn within 200 feet of an intersection.
Motorized bicycles are allowed in a bicycle lane, as long as it does not endanger the safety of bicyclists.
Bike Lanes and Merging with Bicyclists
While bicyclists have the same right to use the road as a motor vehicle, cyclists are encouraged to use a dedicated bike lane whenever possible. Still, a large percentage of motorist-bicycle crashes occur at intersections. Always assume that bicyclists are traveling straight unless they signal otherwise, and yield as you would any other vehicle. Bicyclists may ride on sidewalks and trails, and may come from an unexpected direction. Watch carefully before crossing these paths.
When turning right where there is a bike lane, signal your turn and yield to any bicyclist before crossing the bike lane to enter a right-turn lane. If no right-turn lane is present, yield to any cyclist in the bike lane and make your turn behind the bicyclist. Otherwise, merge into the bike lane before making your turn.
Bike Box/Advanced Stop Lines
An advanced stop line, also referred to as an advanced stop box or bike box, is a system of road markings employed at signalized intersections to allow certain vehicle types a head start when the traffic signal changes from red to green. The markings include a green box on the roadway with a white bicycle symbol inside, and a green bicycle lane approaching (and sometimes leading from) the box.
There are two parallel stop lines at the intersection: the first, at which all traffic except for the specified users (usually bicyclists, but sometimes buses or motorcycles) must stop; and a second, closer to the intersection, into which only the specified users may proceed. Signage may inform road users of the meaning of the extra stop line. Separate signals may be provided for the specific traffic, but usually all vehicles use the same signals.
With enhanced visibility and awareness, the primary goal of this set-up is to prevent collisions between motorists who are turning right and cyclists who are going straight. At a red light, cyclists are more visible to motorists because they are in front of them. At a green light, the bike lane through the intersection reminds motorists and cyclists to watch out for one another.
When the traffic signal is yellow or red, motorists must stop behind the white stop line that is behind the bike box. Don’t stop on top of or inside of the bike box; keep it clear for cyclists’ use. A right-turn-on-red may not be made at these intersections. When the light turns green, motorists and cyclists may move through the intersection as usual, with cyclists proceeding first. Motorists turning right on green should signal and watch for cyclists to the right, especially in the green bike lane in the intersection.
Cyclists enter the bike box from the approaching green bike lane, stopping before the crosswalk on a yellow or red traffic signal. When the light is green, cyclists proceed as usual, taking care to watch for right-turning motor vehicles.