Ask the Trooper: Questions about right turn lanesAre there paint markings on the road to assist in determining if a lane is for passing or just for right hand turns if it is not signed?
By: Jesse Grabow, Minnesota State Trooper, Alexandria Echo Press
Question: I have noticed that not all passing lanes are marked as such. I’ve also noticed there are combination right turn and passing lanes. As I understand, a right turn lane is not to be used as a passing lane. In fact, passing on the right is unlawful. Are there paint markings on the road to assist in determining if a lane is for passing or just for right hand turns if it is not signed?
Answer: Referring to all passing lanes, I’d say they are well marked. In reference to right turn lanes and bypass lanes, there are some that are combined. If it is designated as a “right turn lane,” that is all it can be used for. Some signs are posted as “right lane must turn right,” which serves as a good reminder that passing on the right shoulder is illegal and dangerous.
These are usually marked with a solid white line near the right shoulder of the road. A “bypass lane” is the only time passing on the right is allowed. Bypass lanes are usually posted with a sign and a striped white line near the right shoulder.
You mentioned the combination of the two known as “bypass and turn lane,” which can be posted as that at certain intersections. However, they are also marked with striped white lines alongside the shoulder and should not be confused as a “bypass” only lane. This is another reason why motorists always need to pay attention while driving.
If you have any questions concerning traffic-related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Sgt. Jesse Grabow, Minnesota State Patrol at 1000 Highway 10 West, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-2205 or at email@example.com.