Roadshow: How do I turn when there's a bicyclist to my right?

Q We are having a debate about road rules and bicycles. Can you set us straight?

Dave Cooper

Stony Creek, Conn.

A I’ll sure try, especially for a reader so far away.

Q I’m driving past a bicyclist in the bike lane with my right-turn signal on. When I am maybe 20-25 yards past him, I merge into the bike lane and turn. The bike has to slow to a near-stop, then gives me one of those universal road signals (not hi).

Does the bicyclist have to follow the same rules as any following car would and allow me to make my right turn in front of him? Alternatively, must I delay my turn until he is past me?

Dave Cooper

A You did a lot of things right, but not everything. These “hook turns” are among the most dangerous for bicyclists and motorists. I don’t consider 20 to 25 yards enough space for you to safely pull in front of the bicyclist. Instead, pull in behind him with your blinker on, then turn after he crosses into the intersection.

Drivers, here is the right way to do this:

Merge into or across the bike lane before your right turn, all the way to the curb. You can do this on all streets, whether they have bike lanes or not, within 200 feet of the intersection.

If you think there’s a chance that merging wouldn’t give a rider behind you enough time to slow down or pass on the left, then don’t do it. Slow down and merge behind the rider to make your turn. Treat bicyclists as if they were motorists and avoid pulling to the right at the last moment to turn.

Go to www.dmv.ca.gov for the rules of the road for bicyclists and motorists.

Q What ever happened to the bike lanes that were planned for Mary Avenue in Sunnyvale? Every day I get bumped by bicycle riders that are riding at high speed on the sidewalks. There were plans a couple years ago for bike lanes.

Ken Shirley

Sunnyvale

A It’s moving ahead. Construction could take place this summer.

Q Do you know when the bike path will open back up where it goes by the new 49ers stadium and have they made changes so it can be used on game days? From what I could tell before it was closed, without a change, fans and bikes will be on a collision course.

Bill Ortendahl

Santa Clara

A The San Tomas Aquino Creek Trail in the vicinity of the stadium will reopen once construction is complete. They are still working on building the new bridges along the creek and it is not safe for the trail to be used. Work could be completed in June or July.

Conversations are ongoing to determine what happens on game days.

Q I want to say THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to bicyclists who have installed head- and taillights on their bikes. They are much easier to see in the fog and dappled sunlight on Skyline Boulevard and the twisty roads leading to Highway 35. I understand the lights run on batteries and cost about $20 each. A small investment for such a large payoff.

Tish Strother

A Yes, indeed.

Contact Gary Richards at mrroadshow@mercurynews.com.