Is it OK to drive my vehicle in bicycle lanes?
Issue: A reader said that the new bicycle lane markings such as those on Center Street and Wauwatosa Avenue are confusing and asked if it is OK to drive in those lanes.
Status: In a word, no. A motorized vehicle is not allowed to drive continuously over the marked bicycle lanes except to cross over to legal street parking or to turn at areas designated by a broken, or dotted, line.
Bill Porter, director of public works, and Barry Weber, chief of police, said the lanes were approved by the Common Council and installed late last summer to make the city more bicycle friendly. The markings conform to national standards of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.
Porter and Weber said they occasionally hear from bicyclists who praise the new lanes and report that some drivers do not comply.
Weber said drivers must signal and yield to bicyclists in front of them or at their side before pulling over or turning. Bicyclists also must yield to vehicles that are clearly ahead of them. Fines range from $150 to $175.
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