HOW TO TURN LEFT ON BUSY MULTI-LANE STREET
July 14, 2006
Back to questions
I just started riding my bike
to work and have a pretty good route. However, there are
two instances on my way home where I need to make a left
turn at a major intersection where there are 4 lanes of
traffic (2 each way). Im riding to the right to stay
out of the traffic as much as I can, but when I want to
make my left, how do I get across the two lanes of traffic
safely to get to the left-turn lane (there is usually a
lot of traffic)?
My solution thus far is to use the
pedestrian crosswalk: Go straight across and then turn to
the left and go straight across. That means I have to wait
for two lights to get across. Is there a better way? Thanks
for your reply.
The method you currently use I call
the box left, tho I usually advise folks to
ride next to the crosswalk so as not to molest walkers.
How would an assertive traffic cyclist
set up for the left turn? A half-block or more before the
intersection, theyd look back for a break in traffic,
signal, then cross the outside lane and position themselves
on the left side of the outer laneusing hand gestures
and looks to negotiate with motorists as needed.
Then theyd repeat the looking,
signaling, and negotiating to (a) enter the inside lane,
positioning themselves on the outer edge of the lane, then
(b) cross to the middle or the inside of the lane to get
ready to enter the left-turn lane.
Notice the steps used to change
lanes: cross, enter, cross. If you dont feel youve
the looking, signaling, and negotiating skills needed for
this type of move, you can practice on multi-lane streets
when they have little traffic, like on Sunday mornings.
Seeing pictures of this stuff would
help. Get visual, step-by-step instructions from my book,
Tricks & Tips. Meanwhile, you can keep doing
that box left.