Right turn to SR304 HOV lane not legal

The in basket: I found myself in afternoon rush hour traffic leaving Bremerton on Highway 304 the other day and saw a maneuver I was quite sure is illegal.
The driver of a pickup truck coming out of Charleston Beach Road and wanting to use the HOV lane made the right turn directly from the side road into the HOV lane, crossing the flow of left turners coming out of the shipyard. The driver used a temporary gap in that flow, so there was no close call.
Surely, I asked State Trooper Russ Winger, spokesmen for the State Patrol here, the presence of the HOV lane doesn’t nullify the rule of the road saying drivers turning onto a street or highway must enter the closest available lane of the thoroughfare being entered, does it?
That usually means left turners must enter the inside lane and right turners must enter the outside lane.
The legal way to get to the HOV lane from Charleston Beach Road, it seemed to me, is to turn into the outside lane and move left in two movements, while signaling.
The out basket: Yes, said Russ, the pickup truck driver violated two laws, the one requiring use of the closest lane and the one requiring a signal for at least 100 feet before changing lanes.
“The act of turning, say, right at an intersection and immediately changing lanes – just completing the turn to the left lane – would be violating signal law as you could not possibly have signaled for 100 feet,” Russ said. When there are two adjoining turn lanes, though, the turning driver must head for the corresponding lane on the street being entered, not necessarily the closest one.
In traffic enforcement, Russ added, “I try to use good judgment when I see that and ask was it unsafe. You could plant yourself at such an intersection and see this movement hundreds or more times on any given day.”

One thought on “Right turn to SR304 HOV lane not legal

  1. OK. Let’s say you are alone turning right onto a highway where the HOV lane is the right lane, such as SR 305 through Poulsbo. Let’s just say traffic is also heavy at the time. If you turn right into the HOV lane you are using the lane illegally. If you turn into the inside lane, you violate the “turn into the nearest lane” rule. Will the WSP give you some slack here, or will they cite you for not moving over immediately?

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