View Full Version : who has right of way question

04-12-2007, 02:56 PM
I'm fairly new at commuting to work and have found this forum to be very helpful.

I ride down Interstate from NoPo and have often peddled up to a red light and noticed several of the drivers have their right turn blinker on. I'm wondering if I should hold back and wait for them to 'go' or ride right up to the line? Today I rode right up to the line as the light changed and the guy in the front was turning right. He saw me and waited so I buzzed right past him but I was thinking I probably should have waited for him to turn.

Can anyone offer suggestions on how to best proceed ...


04-12-2007, 03:49 PM
I feel it depends: If there's a bike lane, you go up to the stop line and the turning cars either turn against the red while you wait or they hold and wait for the cyclist once the light turns green.

If there is no marked bike lane, I'd tuck in behind the signaling car (and any cars behind it), indicating with your lane position that he can go ahead and make the turn.

As a driver, I hate it when bikes slide up on my right (with no marked bike lane) when I'm signaling. I think it's rude and it says "Treat me like a vehicle except when I want to take advantage of my small size and dart into your blind spot."

Either way, always always always expect every car to not see you and make a turn in front of you, signal or not.

04-12-2007, 05:23 PM
'zilly, my understanding is that with a bike lane you (the bicyclist) have the right of way, turning motor vehicles need to yield. With no bike lane, you can legally pass on the right "if it's safe to do so" - not as much legal protection here.

As a matter of practice, i try to stay out of the car's mid-starboard area at intersections (and everywhere else) because, as Donald alludes to, relying on drivers to use their turn signals is not a winning proposition. In your example of both you & driver stopped at a light, i think you've got it right - proceed with great caution, & assume nothing.

04-12-2007, 09:46 PM
you have the right of way. i tend to hang back and let them go anyway if they've been good enough to signal. and if they haven't seen you approach, hanging back is sometimes much, much safer. but that may just be the northwesterner in me.

it's your call.

04-13-2007, 12:28 AM
Every situation is going to be different. In general, if I ride up behind them at an intersection and I see they are going to turn right, I'll slow and assume they are not going to see me. Depending on distance, I may wave them through (if I think they see me) just to show them I'm aware of their presence. If they make an obvious gesture showing they see me and are letting me through, then I'll go and wave thanks as I pass. As Donald said, never assume they see you. Until you KNOW otherwise, always assume they don't. When in doubt, err on the side of caution, and geniality!