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3 way Intersection I'm curious about the best way to get across this intersection. I will be traveling north (top of the picture is north), and want to turn left at this light. Path indicated by red arrows. As can be seen there is a bike lane on the far right. However since there is no road on that side there is not a light to allow traffic from the west.

I'm not sure which stage of the stoplight cycle would be best to attempt this. The road has a speed limit of 50 mph and is fairly busy so getting to the turn lane could prove difficult. I was wondering if any of you more seasoned riders could recommend any other course.

  • 2
    Depends on the traffic and how strong a cyclist you are. If traffic isn't crazy (especially with regard to heavy traffic in the opposing direction) the "official" way is to move into the left turn lane (starting well ahead of the intersection), then make the left turn from the turn lane. In this case you generally want to "claim your lane". The other common approach is to wimp out and become a pedestrian. Or travel beyond the intersection and somehow manage a U turn. – Daniel R Hicks Apr 5 '17 at 2:58
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    @Daniel - Problem with this intersection is there is no east-west pedestrian crossing – mattnz Apr 5 '17 at 3:09
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    @mattnz - Technically (at least in most states) a pedestrian can cross at any intersection that is not explicitly marked "no pedestrian crossing". Traffic "must" yield for the pedestrian. – Daniel R Hicks Apr 5 '17 at 3:19
  • Is it possible to go straight north through the intersection, then turn around and come back for an easy right turn? – PunctualEmoticon Apr 9 '17 at 8:23
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Options in order of preference:

  • Another route.
  • Stop on the south side, wait for straight though (north/south) traffic to stop, choose your time to cross contending only with single right turn lane out of PonyExpress Parkway. (Turning traffic is slower, minimizes damage if you get hit). If you don't make it all the way across before lights change, you are in the left turn lane for the next phase.
  • Be assertive and use the left turn lane but only if its a cycling friendly town. problem with this move is at 50MPH, if it goes wrong, it goes badly wrong.

Also Lobby local authority to make it safer. They have gone to expense installing cycle lanes, so they should at least give you a fair hearing.

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    RE: option 2. I would recommend crossing on the south side of Pony Express (PE). Crossing on the north side forces you to contend with southbound traffic turning right off of Redwood (RW) as well as eastbound traffic turning left off of PE. Crossing on the south side, you only have to contend with the eastbound PE traffic that is turning right onto RW. After that, you simply use the PE crosswalk to get back to the right side of the road and rejoin traffic. Also, this puts your "safe haven" on RW in the left turn lane, which is in the flow of traffic and pointing the direction you want to go. – jimchristie Apr 5 '17 at 4:13
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    Second thoughts you are right - You also have the advantage of only having one lane of turning traffic. I have edited my answer to reflect this. – mattnz Apr 5 '17 at 4:30
  • But in a similar junction crossing the section with moving traffic from a place of safety then arriving at the lanes of stopped traffic can be safer (pay attention to the lights). Which might have been what you said before the edit. – Chris H Apr 5 '17 at 6:34
  • +1 for the lobbying part. – cmaster Sep 17 '18 at 6:53
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I would consider moving forward at the intersection, then find an easier way to turn left and, when again at the intersection, right.

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I'd either ride on the road (rather than the bike path), or I'd get off the bike and walk it across. 50 mph is serious injury speed if you get hit.

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