Washington, DC

“Dear PoPville,

I have a driving etiquette/rule question that I could use your readers’ input on. It’s about whether to block cars or block bikers while I wait to safely turn right.

I drive home from work by going north on 11th St. NW and turning right onto Harvard St. NW. Harvard is one-way going east in this location. The northbound side of 11th St. consists of one lane for traffic and one lane of parked cars, with a bike lane in between.

When I turn right from 11th to Harvard, I often have to wait for pedestrians who are crossing Harvard in the crosswalk. I also have to wait for bikers (who I see in my right side mirror coming up behind me going north on 11th) to pass me on my right so I don’t hit them when I make my right turn.

While I wait with my right turn signal on, I do not start my turn and wait in front of the crosswalk because, if I do, I block the path for bikers who are going straight.

They would have to go around me to the right (in the crosswalk) or to the left (into traffic), both of which seem unsafe for them. The problem is my current strategy means I am blocking cars behind me that are trying to proceed straight up 11th St. Often these cars honk at me for not starting my turn and for not making space for them to go straight.

What’s the right call here? Do I (a) annoy cars behind me and get honked at or (b) block the path for bikers?”


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