Three Ways to Make a Left Turn While Biking

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Renée Moore Tweet Us @bikearlington@bikearlington April 29, 2020

Renée Moore is a former Program Manager for BikeArlington.

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Making left turns while biking is not as challenging as it may seem. Here are three methods to try out next time you’re out riding.

A few years ago, UPS decided to have their drivers make right turns and go around the block in order to avoid waiting at traffic lights and for the traffic to clear to make a left turn. This decision has proven to be a good one. It saves time and is more efficient than waiting for a gap in the traffic to make a left turn.

This simple idea can be used by bicyclists too. Making a right turn is pretty simple but making a left turn can be quite tricky. There are a few ways to navigate making a left turn to make the process easier.

Carefully Switch Lanes

If you are on a multi-lane street, scan over your left shoulder and look for cars. Signal to drivers that you would like to move into the left lane. Carefully switch lanes until you are in the left lane. Once the oncoming traffic is clear, make your left turn into the travel lane that will take you where you want to go.

Try a Box Turn

If you’re nervous about traveling across several lanes of traffic, try a box turn. To do a box turn, get into the right lane (yes, the right lane), and bike towards the intersection. Fall in line with the cars facing the direction that you want to go by either getting in front of the line of cars or behind the last car. Then, continue traveling in the direction of your destination.

Use the Crosswalk

If either of these options feel uncomfortable, cross the street when the light turns green. When you reach the opposite side wait for the walk signal and walk your bike across to the other side and continue to your destination.

Test These Rules of the Road

Now that you have these rules of the road, test one of these methods out during Bike Month. Join us in a week-long virtual bike challenge May 17 – May 23 for a chance to receive BikeArlington giveaways.

Photo Credit:

Sam Kittner/

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