Who’s right about the right of way?

Dear Johnnie: I was hoping to get a little help from you. This morning I was at a four-way stop at Third Avenue and Sunset Street. It was headed north on Sunset and wanted to turn right and go east on Third.

I waited my turn and started to go, when a motorcycle headed south on Sunset, turning left to go east on Third cut me off. The motorcyclist yelled and flipped me off several times, and we went on our way. I went to the DMV website and read the rules for a four-way stop and it stated that the first person to the intersection has the right of way. If two people come to the intersection at the same time you yield to the person on your right.

So what do you do when the person is across from you and you get to the intersection at the same time? Nowadays, four-way stops are treated as the two opposite cars go at the same time. And in my situation, I think I had the right of way turning to my right. Please help me to figure this out and inform/remind your readers as to how you handle four-way stops.

Thank you so much! — Stoppin’ and Goin’ in Longmont

Dear Stoppin’ and Goin’: If you and the motorcyclist reached the intersection at the same time, then you had the right of way.

According to the Model Traffic Code: “Unless there is an official traffic control arrow signal regulating the left turn, the driver of a vehicle intending to turn left within an intersection or into an alley, private road or driveway shall yield the right of way to any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction which is within the intersection or so close thereto as to constitute an immediate hazard.”

As I’ve noted before, being right doesn’t do much good once there’s been an accident. Safety is the responsibility of every driver. Yes, that goes for the motorcyclist. Even if he believed he had gotten to the intersection first, his concern should have been seeing that both of you got through the intersection safely, rather than pointing out to you — in his special way — that you were wrong.


Dear Johnnie: The new Lykins Gulch trail connecting Airport Road to the St. Vrain Greenway is great, with one exception — the last 100 feet or so of the trail, where it connects to the Airport Road sidewalk, was left unpaved. This makes for a very dangerous access to the trail, especially coming from the north on the Airport Road sidewalk. Why was it left unpaved? — Bike Rider

Dear Bike Rider: Because that’s where the trail will tie in to an underpass under Airport Road.

In fact, construction work on the Lykins Gulch Pedestrian Underpass is under way, and it’s expected to be complete by the end of November. By the time I get this answer to you, you might know this already. As of this week, cyclists and pedestrians are being detoured south from the Lykins Gulch trail along the Niwot Ditch access road to Rogers Road, then west along Rogers Road to Airport Road.

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