Right Turn Only Lanes

Question

Nathan asked: You’ve said that FDOT no longer uses undesignated bike lanes. Is this why I’ve been recently seeing bike lanes that exist only to the left of right-turn lanes, and revert to shoulder before and after (forcing a cyclist to use the shoulder after the intersection, since it’s illegal to change lanes in an intersection)? I’ve seen these both at new right-turn lane installations on existing roads: http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ll=29.777816,-81.641454&spn=0.008325,0.016512&gl=us&t=m&z=17&layer=c&cbll=29.777492,-81.641273&panoid=krMJ6TrqfD7Owavx0C42MQ&cbp=12,335.97,,0,8.36

and on recent widenings of rural highways: http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ll=30.605358,-86.950672&spn=0.008255,0.016512&gl=us&t=m&z=17&layer=c&cbll=30.605241,-86.950558&panoid=X4-X3CdhvVO_ptMWbvB8SA&cbp=12,330.83,,0,9.24

Answer

The intersection you show is the correct installation of bike lanes to the left of the right turn only lane.

FDOT Plans Preparation Manual

8.4.1 – Bicycle Lanes

At intersections with right turn lanes, the bicycle lane shall continue adjacent to the through lane; between the through lane and the right turn lane, and shall be 5 feet in width for new construction and reconstruction projects.

This configuration usually provides for a continuous bike lane through the intersection and minimizes the conflict with right-turning vehicles.  It does require moving from the paved shoulder bike lane to the next lane before entering the intersection.

If the paved shoulder is not marked for the use of bicycles, bicyclists are not required to use it.

Posted in Ask Geo, Making Turns Tagged with: , , ,
7 comments on “Right Turn Only Lanes
  1. NE2 says:

    “At intersections with right turn lanes, the bicycle lane shall continue adjacent to the through lane”

    Note *continue*. In these cases, there’s no bike lane except at the turn lane.

  2. Geo says:

    That is the standard for bicycle facilities through an intersection with a right-turn-only lane. It appears they installed those bike lanes in a remodel of the intersection. Keeping in mind that bicyclists are never required to use the shoulder unless it is marked for use by bicycles, the bike lane shown is an extension of the path of a cyclist in the through lane continuing through the intersection. See this post and others about lane position.
    http://flbikelaw.org/2009/08/138/
    If it is important to you that the shoulder be marked as well, I suggest that you contact your local roadway authorities.

    • NE2 says:

      The bike lane is not “an extension of the path of a cyclist in the through lane”, but lines up with the shoulder (which is not marked as a bike lane). This can be seen clearly in the second link.

  3. Geo says:

    I’m not sure I understand the problem. FDOT has installed facilities through the intersection apparently in accordance with their guidelines. You are free to ride either on the shoulder, which apparently lines up with the new bike lane, or in the roadway. If you are in the roadway, you need to move over a few feet to enter the bike lane. If you think it is important to have bike markings on the shoulder, you can contact your local roadway authorities.

  4. Dwight says:

    Florida has no law that prohibits moving to an adjacent “lane” for same-direction travel in an intersection.

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