When approaching an intersection with several lanes, bicyclists should choose the rightmost lane appropriate for their intended direction, using turn lanes if appropriate.


Turning Left


  1. The illustration above shows how bicycles turn left as a vehicle. Bicyclists must:
    • Look over their left shoulder for traffic while approaching the intersection. They should practice this until they can perform it without swerving.
    • Watch for approaching motor vehicles.
    • Signal a left turn.
    • When traffic is clear, move over to the left side of the lane (on a two-lane road), left lane, or left turn lane, whichever is appropriate.
    • Be positioned so vehicles going straight through can’t pass them on the left.
    • Yield to oncoming vehicles before turning.
      If riding in a bike lane or on a road with several lanes, look and signal before each lane change.
    • Never make a left turn from the right side of the road.
  2. If less comfortable in traffic, bicyclists should use the crosswalks and:
    • Cross as a pedestrian in the crosswalk.
    • If there is a signal, wait for the green or WALK signal before crossing.

Turning right

Bicyclists should always scan for vehicles that may be turning right. They should signal ahead of the intersection. Cyclists should turn right from the right side of a straight lane or right turn lane if available. Bicycles must stop at red lights before turning right. Motorists must watch for bicyclists.

Turning Vehicles

turning vehiclesBe visible and be aware.

Even if bicyclists are obeying all traffic laws, there is a risk of being involved in a crash if another bicyclist, pedestrian, or motorist isn’t obeying the law or is not able to see a dangerous situation ahead. Bicyclists should ride cautiously.

Bicyclists must always be prepared to stop suddenly or to take other evasive action


turning-bike-laneMotorists should give cyclists extra room and use caution when turning, in case cyclists are in the blind spot. When turning at an intersection, motorists need to watch for bicyclists and pedestrians crossing in front.

Motorists are required to come to a complete stop at red traffic signals and STOP signs. Before turning right on red, motorists must STOP, look LEFT-RIGHT-LEFT, then proceed. The most dangerous situation for bicyclists and pedestrians is at intersections where motorists fail to come to a stop.

Stay alert!


Bicyclists should use mirrors and/or turn their head and look back to scan, just as if they were driving a motor vehicle.

In Virginia, it’s against the law for bicyclists to wear earphones in both ears while riding.

Code of Virginia § 46.2-1078