QUEEN: Here are two different questions relating to the same issue:
COMMUTER: Is it legal to cross a double line on a two-lane street (one lane each direction) to pass a slow-moving bicycle? This situation is often presented at Redwood Road and Pinehurst Road between Oakland and Moraga. It is heavily traveled by cars and bicycles. Generally I pass when it is safe (yes, crossing the double line), as it is the common-sense thing to do, but it would be a hard decision if a police car was behind me.
COMMUTER: Dear Queen, do I have your permission to pull into the carpool lane during commute hours in order to bypass an accident that has a lane closed ahead of me?
QUEEN: Loyal Subjects, at some time or another in our driving careers, we will all find ourselves in a situation like the ones described by Terry and Tmack. In the case of Tmack's question: Since you are on the freeway, my Loyal Subject, might it be possible to change into the lane on your right to avoid the closed lane? Of course, if an
officer at the scene of the crash waves you into the carpool lane, obviously it's OK -- in fact, mandatory -- to follow the officers's instructions.
If there is a nasty crash, the officers probably will be focused on that and not apprehending carpool violators, so realistically you are unlikely to be apprehended.
Terry, your question is especially apropos because you added that great comment, "it would be a hard decision if a police officer was behind me." This is an awesome test anytime you are in doubt. The maneuver you describe violates California Vehicle Code section 21460, which limits what motorists can do with regard to double yellow lines.
For sure, you don't want to pull into opposing traffic, Terry, but you already knew that. Often, officers will cut you slack as long as you are not creating a greater hazard. The Queen leaves you with that thought.
COMMUTER: Every Saturday, I have to plan an extra half-hour because Caltrans doesn't monitor the westbound traffic going through the Caldecott Tunnel. It can be backed up to the Orinda offramp. This happens every single Saturday. Caltrans should know by now that a good amount of folks are going to the City and that the traffic on Saturdays needs to be watched.
George Ramas, Walnut Creek
QUEEN: George, it may not seem like it, but the eyes of Caltrans are upon you, or rather, the Caldecott. On the weekend, workers do monitor the tunnel and open the westbound or eastbound bore depending on the amount of traffic.
Why, then, have you noticed a backup lately? On the Saturday before you wrote in, there was a crash that tied up traffic, according to Her Majesty's Caltrans contact. If those backups continue, though, please let Queen know.
Got questions about your commute? Whether you drive, ride, bike or walk, write the Queen at The Commuter Page, c/o The Times, P.O. Box 8099, Walnut Creek, CA 94598, or email@example.com. Visit her at ContraCostaTimes.com/queen-of-the-road.
Reach the Queen at The Commuter Page, c/o The Times, P.O. Box 8099, Walnut Creek, CA 94598, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit her at http://www.contracostatimes.com/queen-of-the-road.