Question: Is it legal to ride and walk horses on the roads in Whatcom County? I have a neighbor who runs a therapeutic riding center and she walks horses up and down the road with small children all day long five days a week.
Our road is fairly busy and a 35-mph zone. There are no shoulders on the road. This seems dangerous to the children, the horses and other drivers.
Answer: The Bellingham municipal code prohibits riding horses on most city streets. The Whatcom County Code prohibits riding horses on Birch Bay Drive from spring until fall. The RCW only says that people walking or riding horses must be granted the same right of way as vehicles. There may be some other rules/regulations/codes that apply, but these are the only ones I found.
Q: Could you explain what to do at a four-way-stop if you are going forward through the intersection but a car that had stopped before you came to a complete stop is turning left, and you both have to wait for the cross traffic to clear the intersection. As I understand the rules, the left-turning car has to yield the right of way to the oncoming vehicle even though they "stopped" first since the oncoming vehicle has completed a stop and can proceed. Or is it a "first come, first serve" rule as people seem to treat it these days?
Q: What is the proper way to proceed through an intersection with a blinking red light? Cars in east/west proceed and alternate with north/south direction, or lanes proceed one at a time allowing the car on right the right of way?
A: These two questions are similar enough to combine for one answer.
RCW 46.61.180, covering a vehicle approaching an intersection: (1) When two vehicles approach or enter an intersection from different highways at approximately the same time, the driver of the vehicle on the left shall yield the right of way to the vehicle on the right.
RCW 46.61.185, covering a vehicle turning left: At a four-way stop intersection, either flashing red lights or stop signs, if one vehicle arrives first, it should be able to proceed first. If two vehicles approach from opposite sides of the same road at the same time, the vehicle proceeding either straight ahead or turning to the right should proceed first.
This would be the case in the first question. If two vehicles approach the intersection at the same time from adjoining roadways, the vehicle on the left needs to yield to the vehicle on the right. For all of these, the use of turn signals to inform the other drivers of your intentions is a necessity.
ABOUT RULES OF THE ROAD
Rules of the Road is a regular column with questions and answers on road laws, safe driving habits and general police practices.
Answers come from David Wright, a retired officer from the Bellingham Police Department who is now serving on the Whatcom County Traffic Safety Task Force.
To ask a question, go to http://www.bellinghamherald.com/ask-a-question/.