Tag Archives: right of way

Almira’s jog at Riddell Road confuses right of way issues

The in basket: Christopher Pust writes, “Whenever I am coming home from Lowe’s on Fuson Road (in Bremerton), preparing to turn left onto Riddell, I find that people are confused about who has the right of way.

“I consider that I am turning left at what could be considered a two-way stop (though Almira doesn’t intersect exactly in line with Fuson).  This causes me to believe that I must yield to everyone else at the intersection.

“Others don’t seem to see it this way and constantly try to wave me through.  I was taught that I should avoid complying with a ‘wave-through’ and not to wave anyone through because it might confuse who is at fault in the case of a collision.

“I think it is just best to go when you actually have the right of way.  So the end result at this intersection is people on Almira (going straight or turning right) will try to wave me through the intersection, I ignore this and give no other direction, and they wait forever and finally (out of frustration) enter the intersection.

“Since the two roads, Almira and Fuson, aren’t perfectly aligned I could also see that coming from Almira onto Fuson would technically be a right turn onto Riddell and a left turn onto Fuson.  This frame of thought would still require me to yield to them if I am turning left off of Fuson onto Riddell.

“So, who has the right of way at this intersection if someone on Fuson is turning left and someone approaches on Almira going straight or turning right?”

The out basket: Well, first, let’s get the street names correct. The two legs of the street Christopher mentions are both Almira, which doesn’t end until the 90-degree turn where Fuson starts a little to the north. It does jog to the side at Riddell, an often troublesome alignment road engineers try to avoid or correct when possible.

That said, the official word from the Bremerton and Kitsap County law enforcement (Riddell happens to mark the city limit, so either agency might have jurisdiction there) is that Christopher is correct in his actions.

“While at the stop sign at the intersection of Almira Drive and Riddell Road, intending to turn left to head eastbound, a driver must yield to all other traffic that is in the intersection,” says Deputy Scott Wilson, spokesman for Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office.

“This includes yielding to traffic that may be continuing across Riddell Road on Almira Drive,” he said.

“Which vehicle has the right of way? Any traffic that already is on the roadway of  Riddell Road at either intersection has the right of way.

“For those courteous drivers who wave for you to ‘go ahead and proceed’ because you may be at the stop sign for a period of time… just shake your head from side to side (and smile) to indicate ‘No thank-you.’

“If there is any confusion about which vehicle has the right of way, and a driver enters the intersection without yielding and a collision ensues even though the driver was ‘waved on,’ that driver will be held liable for causing the collision.

“Best advice:  just wait until you’re clear to proceed,” he said.

Lt. Pete Fisher of Bremerton police said he agrees.

I must say, though, that the Almira situation seems much like that at a four-way stop, where common behavior deviates from the law, which says a vehicle on the right has the right of way over one to its left. In real life, drivers, myself included, usually use a first-come, first served approach, pulling out slowly when they feel its their turn and watching to see what others at the intersection will do. I don’t recall ever having a close call doing so.

Cross-traffic on Riddell, of course, complicates that comparison. It adds a perilous element not present at a four-way stop. But when the only drivers are facing each other on Almira, the wordless negotiation common to low-speed driving conflicts should work there. It would take a panicky driver to actually crash into someone coming the other way from a stop on Almira.

But if someone does collide in such a low speed situation after not yielding as the law directs, we now know who will get the ticket.


13th & Corbet on Kitsap Way is a complex right-of-way spot

The in basket: Tom Baker of the Bremerton city electronics shop, who often helps me with answers, posed a question last month.

“Eastbound on Kitsap Way (in Bremerton) at the busy intersection of Corbet Drive, 13th Street and Wilbert.” he asked, “who has the right of way when turning left onto Corbet, and there is a vehicle turning right from 13th onto Kitsap Way? The right turning vehicle is looking at the oncoming traffic, and not at the car about to turn left in front of him.

“I believe the vehicle in the traveled way has the right of way, but I will yield to the right-turning traffic,” he said.

The out basket: This is a complicated intersection and right of way issues there are equally complex. Corbet and 13th intersect Kitsap Way within a few feet of each other. Wilbert is across the street  and is more conventional.

Lt. Pete Fisher of Bremerton police says any car entering a roadway, especially from a stop sign, must yield to those on the roadway being entered, so the driver turning off of Kitsap Way would have the right of way. Tom is correct.

In the first year of Road Warrior, 1996, I handled a related question. Who has the right of way when a driver on Corbet turning left onto Kitsap Way conflicts with a driver on 13th turning right. Their paths will cross.

Pete Fisher agrees with what I was told then by Sgt. Tom Pratt of BPD. They say that the common rule that the vehicle on the right has right of way over that on its left, most often mentioned when discussing four-way stops, governs in that situation. So the left turner from Corbet would have right of way over the right turner from 13th.

Political signs among those not legally put on highway right of way

The in basket: Herron Miller, the Sun’s night new editor, emailed July 2 to say, “Saw something on way into work this afternoon you might ask about.

“I was coming off southbound Highway 3 to turn left onto Kitsap Way. A DOT truck was parked at corner of the exit ramp and Kitsap Way. A worker was putting several yard signs into the truck. One that I could see was a political yard sign. Not sure where he pulled them from, but they were ending up in the back of his truck.

“Just wondering what are the rules on yard signs? They seem to litter the sides of roads everywhere … why would the ones he was taking be targeted?

The out basket: Duke Stryker, supervisor of state highway maintenance crews here, says his employees rarely make a special trip to deal with such signs, but will remove them if they are on other business, such as litter removal. The signs will get more directed attention if they obstruct driver vision.

It’s not legal to put them on state highway right of way, and that includes political signs, he said. He thinks candidates get a flyer from election  offices telling them that.

His office hangs on to removed signs for a while, in case the candidate or business wants to reclaim them.

And he denied a common accusation, that his crews target one party or another or one side of an issue.


Much longer right lane coming on Warren at 11th

The in basket: Michael Drouin wants to know “when will the widening of Warren Avenue (right-turn lane extension), north of 11th Street begin and how many weeks will this construction work be ongoing?”

The out basket: It will be done next year or the year after, says Larry Matel, the city of Bremerton street engineer. 

They are just beginning to acquire the right of way, which can be time-consuming if the city and affected property owners can’t come to an easy agreement. 

Its main objective is to lengthen the current outside right turn lane to about three times its current length, says Larry.  

“Currently, we are planning on eliminating the double-right and making it a single lane,” he said, “but part of that is dependent on the interaction with Olympic College and their future parking lot design.”

I don’t think that issue matters much. I almost never see anyone turn right from the second lane over and I think a lot of drivers don’t even know it’s permissible.

But the extra length of the outside lane will be greatly appreciated. It’s common to see that lane sealed off by those in the next lane over waiting to go straight ahead. Keeping those right turners flowing will do wonders for the backups on Warren

 Also part of the project, Larry says, is widening the sidewalk there from four or five feet to eight feet. 

He expects actual construction to take no more than 30 to 45 days, he said.

Yield sign coming to Bangor area Highway 3 merge

The in basket: Don Erickson of Seabeck wrote in July to say “Everyday when I leave Keyport,  I travel west on Luoto Road to Highway 3 and

turn left to the southbound on-ramp of the highway. Shortly after

entering the on-ramp, there are two lanes of traffic from Bangor merging

from the right. 

“Since I’m going straight ahead and the traffic is coming

from the right, I say I have the right of way. But everyday its a fight

to keep from getting bumped from the Bangor traffic flying around the

curve and trying to merge into my lane and further left onto the


“Who has the right of way and can there be any enforcement of a

speed limit on the Bangor traffic coming around the curve heading south?”

The out basket: State Trooper Krista Hedstrom, spokeswoman for the local detachments, says Don is incorrect in his belief that he has the right of way there. 

The Merge sign depicts the two lanes from Bangor with a thicker line than it does the single lane Don uses, and the greater thickness of the line confers right of way.

She notes that despite the sign’s placement on the shoulder of the double right turn access, it’s still visible by the single lane. “I do agree, though, that it would not hurt to have another sign placed in a location more visible,” she added.

I had not heard Krista’s interpretation of varying thickness of lines on a Merge sign before, so I asked Olympic Region Traffic Operations Engineer Steve Bennett if the traffic engineer’s bible, the Manual on Uniform Traffic  Control Devices supports it. 

Not in so many words, he replied, but it can be inferred from the words that ARE used. But just “to clear things up, we will be installing a Yield sign so that the single-lane ramp yields to the double-lane ramp,” he said.

As for speed enforcement there, they will definitely attend to that, says Krista, but the freeway’s 60 mph is the speed limit on its on-ramps so a driver would really have to be hitting it to exceed the limit there.