The left turn lane

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by 390beretta, Jan 28, 2014.

  1. 390beretta

    390beretta Long timer

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    I live and ride a lot in PHX. AZ. Lately I've noticed a lot of cagers using the left turn lane as a "safe place" when they want to turn left. They typically dart into the left turn lane when traffic coming from their left permits. Then, coast/drive slowly, sometimes blinker on/sometimes not, indicating their intention to move to the right when possible.

    I have two questions: 1. What is your strategy for handling this type of situation? 2. Is this maneuver legal where you live? It used to be illegal here, but I've never seen it enforced; not sure if it's currently legal.

    My typical response when this happens is to move to the far right of my lane (assuming I'm in the lane next to the left turn lane and check my right mirror to see if I can escape to that lane should the person encroach on my lane, thus evading. If my right lane is not clear, I typically cover the brakes and slow down.......but this move still pisses me off.
    #1
  2. WhichWayNow

    WhichWayNow Been here awhile

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    Here in Idaho, you're only allowed to drive 150 feet in the center turn lane. I encounter people doing the same thing all of the time.

    The really dangerous situation is when I'm trying to turn left and one of these morons is driving in the center lane. They're usually looking at the traffic coming from behind them and not where they are going. I've had to ride on past where I was planning on turning to avoid being run over.
    #2
  3. TinDog

    TinDog Adventurer

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    Sure, it happens all the time here. All too often the center turn strip is used as a defacto merge lane to get into traffic from the opposite side of the road, but Utah traffic law doesn't allow for even a bit of merge type use. When entering the road, the law here calls to simply cross the strip and into your lane; if you can't pull into traffic without using the center strip, you shouldn't pull into traffic at all per our traffic law.

    I think most of the illegal use I see is from ignorance of the law, rather than deliberately breaking the law. My overly cautious model citizen spouse received one of her two lifetime traffic warnings for using the center lane to merge - she had no idea.
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  4. Bronco638

    Bronco638 Nobody Home

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    This is becoming prevalent here, in Chicago-land. It makes me mad, too. I try to make myself as visible as possible (slight weaves) and keep an eagle-eye on the cage. Some cage drivers are observant and look for an opening, others just floor it and everyone else be damned. :bluduh :scratch
    #4
  5. RogueClimber

    RogueClimber "Tacticool"

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    I just plan on them moving across all the lanes to wherever I am and them trying to run me over.

    Of course this also goes for the asshats taking right turns and crossing all the way to the inside lane too.
    #5
  6. jmq3rd

    jmq3rd .

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    Luckily Texas is one of those states where u-turns are legal unless indicated otherwise, so if I can't get across a busy street, I just turn right and do a u-turn at the next opportunity.

    And no, it doesn't stop everybody else from using the left turn lane as a merge lane.
    #6
  7. Jamie Z

    Jamie Z Long timer

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    SOP in this area. Doesn't bother me at all. I do it too.

    If I'm on a road and someone is turning left into the suicide lane, I just watch carefully to make sure they aren't pulling into my space. Same as I would do for any car potentially in my path.

    No idea if the move is legal or not. I've never seen anyone stopped for it, and I've never been stopped for it.

    Jamie
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  8. ttpete

    ttpete Rectum Non Bustibus

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    When I'm pulling out of a driveway turning left onto a multi lane road that has a center left turn lane, if I can't get a 2 way break in traffic, I'll wait until I can get across into the turn lane and wait there until the other side of the road is clear.
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  9. 390beretta

    390beretta Long timer

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    Yeah, that's what I usually do as well. But, I almost always wait until I can clearly get across both lanes and into the one I want to be in. Thanks for the response.
    #9
  10. Dranrab Luap

    Dranrab Luap E-Tarded Super Moderator

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    Same here, but I obviously yield right of way to any vehicles in the middle turning lane. If i need to accelerate in it, I'll do that do, but only for very short periods of time. A lane intended to be used by cars going in either direction takes extra caution and courtesy.
    #10
  11. Bill Harris

    Bill Harris Confirmed Curmudgeon

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    I do that too, and many drivers down here do something similar.

    That center turn lane can get congested this way. Not only are the left-turning cars using it but also the cars from the two cross-traffic directions are using it as a "safe haven". I don't think it's illegal, but it's not specified as a legal maneuver. I always consider the left-turning traffic on the main roadway as having the right-of-way and the entering cross-traffic being subordinate.

    A gray area in our imperfect world.

    --Bill
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  12. ttpete

    ttpete Rectum Non Bustibus

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    If you really want something to think about, we had 3 lane highways years ago. The center lane was the passing lane for both directions. :eek1
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  13. henshao

    henshao Bained

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    I had no idea what the hell you were talking about until someone mentioned a center turn lane. "Lately I've noticed a lot of cagers using the left turn lane as a "safe place" when they want to turn left." Center turn lanes are not terribly common here, we have lots and lots of thick medians.

    The situation so others confused like myself can understand: cars pulling out from parking lots or intersecting streets, turn left and go into the center turn lane, instead of waiting until there's room to turn left into the travel lanes where they belong.

    When they do this in right front of me I try to change lanes if possible, if not I let them go ahead of me. There's no great way to deal with the whole "do they see me will they merge into me."
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  14. 390beretta

    390beretta Long timer

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    Just had a chance to ask a police officer about whether this move is legal: He said no, it's not legal. I asked if police enforce it: He said if we're around and see it; which I think is BS. Not to badmouth the cops, they've probably got more important things to do. Any police officers care to chime in?
    #14
  15. ttpete

    ttpete Rectum Non Bustibus

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    The idea behind center turn lanes is to get left turning traffic out of the travel lanes. And it works well for that purpose. In MI, most all multi-lane roads with no center median use center turn lanes.

    Michigan originated what's known as the "Michigan left turn". Rather than explain it, here's a link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michigan_left

    http://www.michiganhighways.org/indepth/michigan_left.html

    This is an advantage for motorcyclists because there are no vehicles to turn in front of a rider.
    #15
  16. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Long timer

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    Why do you think their being in a center turn lane means they no longer turn left in front of motorcycles?
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  17. ttpete

    ttpete Rectum Non Bustibus

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    That was a reference to the "Michigan left", not the center turn lane. Go back and look at the links.
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  18. jmq3rd

    jmq3rd .

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    I looked at the links. Don't they still turn left across traffic when they do the u-turn?

    Actually looks very much less safe to me.
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  19. ttpete

    ttpete Rectum Non Bustibus

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    No. You make a u turn through the median and go straight through the intersection, and there's usually a stoplight at the u turn to make it easier.
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  20. jmq3rd

    jmq3rd .

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    OK - they don't go straight across traffic, they just have to change from the far left to the far right lane immediately after completing the U-turn. Which is much better, because now they aren't looking for traffic in front of them, but traffic behind/beside them. And we all know motorcycles don't get lost in the blind spot. :D

    Just kidding with you - looks like it would work - I just don't see a big improvement over turning left.
    #20