Center Lane Laws for Idaho: When You Can and CAN’T Use Them
Well, well, well. I should have gathered up quite a few tickets by now. I have been using the center lane incorrectly and could have been ticketed for it. I don't want to wrap others up in my mistakes, but don't be surprised if you have been using that middle lane wrong too. KTVB dove in and found that Police can ticket drivers for not properly using the center turn lane. They got some deeper insight from Boise Police Sgt. Matt Convalinka.
He explained the Boise City Code in an easy to understand way: "Upon a roadway where traffic is permitted to move in both directions, whenever the center lane of said roadway is bounded by solid lines, vehicles shall travel upon said center lane only for the purposes of turning to the left or entering a designated traffic lane after completion of a left turn. Vehicles shall not use said center lane as a passing lane nor shall any vehicle travel upon said center lane for a distance of more than one hundred feet (100') prior to turning to the left or following completion of a left turn."
Ok so I use the center lane to merge, and I used it often, especially coming out of busy Meridian Road, so what about that?
"When you're exiting a parking lot, (I can only assume he also means a busy street?) you can use the center turn lane to help you merge into traffic, however, you cannot travel more than 100 feet in that lane." He went further to even explain that stopping in the center lane may actually be safer than just going across all lanes.
"The best thing and the safest thing to do make your left-hand turn, stop, and wait for a break in the traffic before you merge into the lane," he said.
I dont know if this makes it clearer or more confusing but here is the official Idaho Statute from the Idaho Legislature Government website,
TITLE 49 - MOTOR VEHICLES - CHAPTER 6 - RULES OF THE ROAD
49-644. REQUIRED POSITION AND METHOD OF TURNING. The driver of a vehicle intending to turn shall do so as follows:
(1) Both the approach for a right turn and the right turn shall be made as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway.
(2) The driver of a vehicle intending to turn left shall approach the turn in the extreme left-hand lane lawfully available to traffic moving in the direction of travel of the vehicle. Whenever practicable the left turn shall be made to the left of the center of the intersection and so as to leave the intersection or other location in the extreme left-hand lane lawfully available to traffic moving in the same direction on the highway being entered.
(3) Where a special lane for making left turns by drivers proceeding in opposite directions has been indicated by traffic-control devices:
(a) A left turn shall not be made from any other lane;
(b) A vehicle shall not be driven in the lane except when preparing for or making a left turn from or into the highway or when preparing for or making a U-turn when otherwise permitted by law.
History: [49-644, added 1988, ch. 265, sec. 173, p. 665.]