Q Can you please, please, please remind drivers of the proper way to make a right turn when a bicyclist is present? I am terrified as I bike toward an intersection and a driver to my left or behind me waits until the last moment to make his move for a right turn, often cutting me off.

Don Fields

San Jose

A Thursday is Bike To Work Day and a good time to remind drivers about a question that motorists get wrong more than any other on DMV tests: how to make a legal and safe right turn at an intersection when a bicyclist is present.

Drivers, here is the right way to do this:

Merge into or across the bike lane before your right turn, all the way to the curb. You can do this on all streets, whether they have bike lanes or not, within 200 feet of the intersection.

If you think there's a chance that merging wouldn't give a rider behind you enough time to slow down or pass on the left, then don't do it. Slow down, and merge behind the rider to make your right turn. Treat bicyclists as if they were motorists.

Avoid pulling to the right at the last moment to turn. This "hook turn" is so dangerous for bicyclists.

Go to www.dmv.ca.gov for the rules of the road for bicyclists and motorists.


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Q I know cars are expected to move into the bike lane before making a right turn. However, does this mean a driver can use the bike lane as a place to wait to make a right turn on red?

Often, I either have to wait behind these cars to make a right turn, or take the sidewalk if in a hurry (which doesn't happen often).

Rao Loka

Palo Alto

A Yes, if a motorist ahead is waiting to turn right on red, the bicyclist should wait behind the driver or pull to the left of the motorist to proceed straight.

Q My candidates for stupidest distracted drivers are bicyclists reading or texting on their phone, and wearing earphones.

Liz Esterly

San Jose

A But it is legal for a bicyclist to use a handheld phone. Attempts to ban this have failed in the past but are sure to come up again.

Q I have a bike rack that attaches to the tow hitch so the post that actually holds the bikes rises right in the middle, obstructing my license plate. Almost all racks sold are like this and I see cars and trucks using them and I never heard of anybody getting a ticket for this. Is this legal? Could I get a ticket?

Alex Diaz

A You could. While it is illegal to block the view of your license plate, police say this would be up to their discretion and the odds of getting a ticket would be low. If ticketed, you would probably get a fix-it citation and have to pay a $25 fine.

Q When making a left or right turn with traffic at a light, should a bicyclist go to the front of the line beside the first car, or stay in line behind the car? I have seen it both ways and am not certain which is the rule of the road.

Charlie Dickinson

Fremont

A Generally, if the lane is too narrow for a car and bike to fit safely side by side, then the bicyclist should stay in the middle of the lane. If the lane is wide enough for the car and bike to fit side by side, then the bicyclist should stay on the right side of the lane.

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