Washington, DC


Photo by PoPville flickr user Mr.TinDC

“Dear PoPville,

I am a busy DC parent who sometimes drives, sometimes bikes to work. I have a friend from college who was killed in DC in 2008 when a truck turned right through a bike lane and crushed her, so I’ve always been very safety-focused regardless of whether I’m on a bike or in a car.

I’m confused about who has the right of way after a car merges into the bike lane to turn right. According to DDOT, if you are a car wanting to turning right across a bike lane, the proper move is to wait for the cyclists to pass and then slowly merge into the bike lane before you turn right.

If there are a few cars at a stop sign, I will merge one car up, stop at the sign, and then turn. That means I’m in the bike lane for a minute before turning. It doesn’t take long, but the cyclists that come up behind me often pass me on the right side, which kind of negates the entire purpose of me merging for safety. Obviously, I yield for them when they do this, but my question is: do they have the right of way in this case? Or should they wait behind me?

David Alpert of Greater Greater Washington writer says they should wait, but I haven’t seen any official sources and I think there are rules saying cars have to yield for cyclists and cyclists have the right to pass cars on the right.

Do your readers have any definitive answers on what the rule is?

PS This should go without saying, but I always use a turn signal!”

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