Bike Lane Ends at Intersection
Doc asked: I have 2 intersections with traffic lights that I go through every day, where the bike lane ends and there is no bike lane on the other side of the intersection. One intersection has multiple lanes on both sides, the other only one. With the multiple lane intersection, I signal and move out of the bike lane before the intersection and line up behind cars when stopped for a red light. At the other, I stop my bicycle at the end of the bike lane for the red light, proceeding through when it turns green. This can cause confusion when both a car and my bicycle arrive at the other side of the intersection at the same time. both of us vying for the lane. Does the law clarify what should be done in these situations?
If the bike lane were properly marked, it would answer your question. Bike lane striping should change to a dashed line before the intersection to indicate that the cyclist may move left into the main travel lane to proceed straight through and a motor vehicle operator should move right into the bike lane to prepare for a right turn.
Note that cyclists have the same rights and duties as other drivers unless specified in the statutes.
s. 316.2065 – Bicycle Regulations
(1) Every person propelling a vehicle by human power has all of the rights and all of the duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle under this chapter, except as to special regulations in this chapter, and except as to provisions of this chapter which by their nature can have no application.
Even if the bike lane is improperly marked with a solid white line to the intersection, you are not required to stay in the bike lane or otherwise keep right if presented with any condition or potential conflict that makes it unsafe to do so.
(5)(a) Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall ride in the lane marked for bicycle use or, if no lane is marked for bicycle use, as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway, except under any of the following situations:
3. When reasonably necessary to avoid any condition or potential conflict, including, but not limited to, a fixed or moving object, parked or moving vehicle, bicycle, pedestrian, animal, surface hazard, turn lane, or substandard-width lane, which makes it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge or within a bicycle lane.
That is particularly true if the lane opposite is a narrow lane, one of the unsafe conditions that permit taking the lane.
For the purposes of this subsection, a “substandard-width lane” is a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and another vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.
This post is directed at avoiding the “right hook” at an intersection, but the laws are the same and apply to your situation, particularly the statutes about overtaking and passing.
Negotiation for control of a single continuing lane between two same-direction drivers passing through an intersection can be awkward. If only one lane (too narrow to share) continues and several motorists are still behind me, they would have to pass me one by one (moving into adjacent oncoming lane to do so) if I successfully inserted myself into the line of traffic. Therefore, where only one lane continues, I tend to hang back in the intersection and let the queue clear before moving into the single line of continuing traffic. (A risk to keep in mind if one does this is that an overtaking cyclist who plans to continue on the far-side sidewalk may go sailing past one, so keep an eye out.)
If two or more same-direction lanes continue on far side of intersection, leaving the bike lane and moving into the adjacent travel lane on the approach (so as to avoid the “potential conflict” downstream) is reasonable.