School buses and center turn lanes

The in basket: Dave Dahlke of Port Orchard asks, ” What is the law pertaining to a school bus with its stop sign out and there is a two-way center turn lane between it and oncoming traffic? Is the oncoming traffic required to stop?


The in basket: Dave Dahlke of Port Orchard asks, ” What is the law pertaining to a school bus with its stop sign out and there is a two-way center turn lane between it and oncoming traffic? Is the oncoming traffic required to stop?
“I came upon this situation yesterday on Mile Hill Drive just west of the Long Lake Road intersection for the first time,” he said. “There were two cars in front of me and they both stopped. So, of course, I was forced to stop along with those behind me. I was glad there were cars in front of me because I don’t know whether I would have stopped or not.
The out basket: When there is a center lane between you and a school bus facing in the opposite direction with its red lights flashing and flag out, you don’t have to stop. You do have to stop, of course, if you are going in the same direction as the bus.
I’ve seen this a number of times at the very spot Dave mentions. Most of the time, the oncoming drivers, uncertain of the law, stop to be on the safe side. But it wouldn’t be illegal if they didn’t.
Kitsap County just widened Mill Hill Drive for a couple of miles east of there with a two-way center turn lane, and the same rule applies the entire distance now.
School buses never let kids off in such places where they would have to cross the street to get to where they are going.

2 thoughts on “School buses and center turn lanes

  1. See, I’ve been told differently by a Kitsap County sherriff and almost got a ticket three days after the fact.

    This was almost 10 years ago but the bus was unloading at the Kindercare on Randall Way there behind AMC Theaters in Silverdale and I was coming from the direction of the sherriff station.

    I passed and kept going. Since I was a delivery driver and had to have a sign on my car a few days later a sheriff came to my place of work and started yelling at me that unless there is a physical barrier (a ‘jersey’ barrier not a curb-like seperator) between the lanes of traffic all lanes must stop and that he was in his discretion to give me a ticket. The school bus driver had turned me in.

    Randall way has a two-lane turn lane all the way down it except for the very ends.

  2. Years ago when Viking Way through Poulsbo was two lanes with a middle 2-way turn lane, a School Bus was unloading while heading towards me. I wasn’t going to stop and suddenly the children ran across the street in front of me. Needless to say, I was taken by surprise and stopped quickly. Since that incident, I always stop for a School Bus when there is a 2-way turn lane in the middle. Although, I have never seen a Bus driver allow children to cross a 2-way turn lane since. Better safe than sorry.

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