June 1, 2012

Turning Right is OK

America, for those of you who don't watch Fox News, is cursed with an entitlement society. And what I think this means is that people feel entitled to do what they want to on the road. Missed that exit? It's alright, just reverse a little bit. No exit to Broad Street if you're on SR-315 south? The sign is only a suggestion. No bikes on the freeways? How else do you expect me to get to Broad Street?

I have no problem with people trying to get to their destinations quickly. I do have problems when people make it unsafe for themselves or others. For instance, when I was at an ODOT meeting about the I-70/I-71 split fix, two people complained about how unsafe it is to make a turn to get onto I-71. Was anyone forcing them to make the turn? No. Were there safer alternatives? I'm sure of it.

A danger that bicyclists can face is changing lanes in order to turn left. When there is a steady lane of cars, sometimes it is next to impossible to merge. That's why sometimes as a cyclist you have to admit defeat and take a right turn. Turning right is OK.

The above is a move I have to take sometimes. Heading east on Mound Street, sometimes I turn into the old Cooper Stadium parking lot and do a U-turn. This is similar to the Michigan left although do note that U-turns are illegal in Ohio.

The above is another move I take sometimes. There's a curb cut to a parking lot along Broad Street that I turn right at if I am unable to merge 2 lanes over to turn left onto Hague.

Another somewhat legal maneuver is revered to as a box turn. Sometimes there is a bicycle facility such as Milton Avenue along the Olentangy Bike Path.

Credit: City of Columbus

If you are a bicyclist travelling up in this picture and the light is red, you can go around any stopped cars and wait in the bike box to turn left. The other manner you can use it is if you are going east (towards the right) on North Broadway (the cross street in the picture) and want to turn left. You can turn left and stop in the bike box and wait for the signal to change.

You can also do the box turn without a bike facility although you would stop in or in front of the crosswalk before moving forward with the traffic signal.

Just remember, taking a minute of your time to turn right can reduce your risk on the road. Bikes turn right.

More on box turns:

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