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More Confusion for Bicyclists on Burke-Gilman Trail

Updated on: 3/6/2019

Problems for Cyclists at Burke-Gilman Trail

Burke-Gilman TrailThere are many traffic signs posted on and around the Burke-Gilman Trail. Since there are a few areas of danger to cyclists, it causes them to wonder whether they should be following the signs or if they are just for motorized vehicles.

The Seattle Department of Transportation cited a city ordinance that says bicyclists do have to obey stop signs like automobile drivers.

However, where the trail crosses Union Bay Place Northeast, things get a little bit more confusing. At this crossing, there is a marked crosswalk where it crosses the road. The drivers are required to yield to pedestrians and cyclists crossing. At this area, there are also bicycle signs that indicate they need to stop. So, who has the right of way?

To answer this question, SDOT’s acting city traffic engineer Brian Kemper clarified:

"We do not have evidence that this intersection is confusing for motorists and bicyclists. No matter the location, traffic laws apply to bicyclists just as motorists, and we expect people to follow the law and the 'rules of the road.''

"Seattle Municipal Code, Section 11.44.120, Riding on a Sidewalk or Public Path states: 'Every person operating a bicycle ... shall obey all traffic control devices.' Assignment of right-of-way varies along our trail system. Typically, where the trail crosses a roadway at a mid-block location, the roadway will have the right-of-way. In other words, people on the trail have to yield to roadway vehicles. This is typically due to a higher volume of vehicles on the roadway and the tendency for motorists to be less aware of a mid-block crossing. In this case, we install a regulatory sign, such as a stop or yield, for the trail.”

Davis Law Group reminds all cyclists to be cautious and aware of their surroundings regardless of the signs. If you have been involved in a bicycle accident, contact Davis Law Group.
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