Dear Street Smarts,
Q: When making a right turn onto 17th Avenue from Soquel Avenue, can you please explain how one is to navigate this “T” intersection? The bike path is marked with a solid white line that stops about 40 feet from the intersection. In order to safely get into the white-line marked right turn lane without crossing the solid white bike lane marking, one must make a somewhat abrupt turn when the bike lane marking stops. This abrupt turn is necessary because there is no ‘dashed’ white line and it is unlawful to cross a solid white line. I’ve found that most drivers ignore the solid line and merge to the right, across the white line, well before the white line ends. I think the street stripers made a mistake here and should remedy what is an unsafe situation.
David Dawson via email
A: The lack of dotted lines was no mistake, said Jack Sohriakoff, senior civil engineer for county public works.
“Dotted bike lane lines are optional where we have the gap per Chapter 10 of the California Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices,” he explained. “We did not include the dotted bike lane lines here since we have not done so in the past at other similar locations. This is a typical right turn lane striping layout with a bike lane approach. If motorists are cutting over the bike/parking lane line to enter the right turn lane earlier than the gap then they may be driving in the bike lane illegally. You can check that with the CHP.
“If a bicyclist is using the bike lane area correctly it is unlikely that the motorist will not be able to avoid the bicyclist. This is a driver behavior issue and with any new improvement it may take some time for users to get acquainted with the new roadway.”
While there are no plans to restripe this area at this time, Sorhiakoff suggested that “this issue be reconsidered next summer after folks become accustomed to the new road.”