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Bicyclists and drivers all must follow rules

I know the best alternative while driving is to be courteous and drive defensively.

To the defensive end, I have two questions:

1. There are numerous streets in Medford where a two-lane street becomes one-lane. Most always there are two signs, one of which states the end of the left or right lane with a second sign depicting the end of the indicated lane. Such is the case where Delta Waters goes east from Crater Lake Avenue. The signs all indicate the left lane ends, so the "forced" merge of the left lane with the right is somewhat crazy. From a legal standpoint, am I better off to be in the right lane?

2. In the three years we have been here, I have nearly hit two bicycle riders that I felt were going the wrong direction in a bicycle lane. I notice most all bike lanes in Medford indicate which direction the riders "should" be going. Are those indicated directions a matter of "should" or are they legally binding on the bicycle rider? - Roger M.

Roger, for question one, there's the legal standpoint and then the practical standpoint.

From a legal standpoint it doesn't matter which lane you are in, it just means you'll have different responses to the lane ending.

If you are in the lane that ends - in your example the left lane is ending, but it could be either the right or left lane - then you are required to give the right of way to those drivers in the lane that continues on through.

At the extreme, it may mean you have to come to a full stop and wait for a break when you can safely merge into the through lane. Regarding the practical standpoint, if you know you're going to be continuing on, then I'd recommend that you be in the right lane and preplan being there before you get to the intersection.

That way you don't have to worry about merging as you have the right-of-way and can continue on through. As to question two, it's not just a "should," it's the law.

Bicycles are considered vehicles under Oregon law.

As such they are required to obey all the laws that pertain to vehicles, except those that by their very nature cannot be complied with, such as wearing a seat belt.

So bicycles, just like other vehicles, have to travel with traffic. This is the opposite of how it works for pedestrians, who walk against or facing traffic.