Two-Way Turn Lanes Aren’t Passing Lanes

The in basket: Dana Clevenger noted Wednesday’s Road Warrior discussion of how far a person dares go in a two-way left turn lane before turning left and replied, “I get the impression that you are telling people that it is okay to travel in the two-way center turn lane to pass stopped traffic if you go less than 300 feet. This is incorrect. The statute (RCW 46.61.290) prohibits passing any vehicles while traveling in the two-way center turn lane. The 300-foot restriction is a separate offense.”


The in basket: Dana Clevenger noted Wednesday’s Road Warrior discussion of how far a person dares go in a two-way left turn lane before turning left and replied, “I get the impression that you are telling people that it is okay to travel in the two-way center turn lane to pass stopped traffic if you go less than 300 feet. This is incorrect. The statute (RCW 46.61.290) prohibits passing any vehicles while traveling in the two-way center turn lane. The 300-foot restriction is a separate offense.”
The out basket: Because I was writing about how far a person can legally travel in a two-way turn lane before turning left, it didn’t occur to me to discuss use of the lane before merging to the right. Passing even one car in a two-way turn lane before merging to the right is illegal. The RCW Dana cites actually reads ” A vehicle shall not be driven in this center lane for the purpose of overtaking or passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction.” Those last five words seem to allow for passing stopped traffic on your right before turning left, providing you don’t travel more than 300 feet.
But Lt. Pete Fisher of Bremerton police says it’s still a risky thing to do, as someone in the right lane might pull into the center lane at any time. But it’s not an infraction if you turn before going 300 feet.

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