The hatch markings on the right shoulder of the I-5 northbound Main Street exit off-ramp apparently perplex many Ferndale area neighbors if a recent conversation on social media is any example.
The conversation occurred in a closed (not public-facing) Facebook group and there were a wide array of opinions over whether using the shoulder to bypass backed up traffic not turning right was legal or even safe.
Backups occur frequently at that off-ramp since the rightmost lane is not a right turn only lane. If the lead vehicle is going straight, all vehicles behind that vehicle are required to wait until the traffic signal cycles to green, allowing the lead vehicle to proceed through the intersection. It is not unusual to see a vehicle in the shoulder bypassing the line to make a right turn onto westbound Main Street.
Washington State Patrol Trooper Heather Axtman responded when Discover Ferndale asked via email whether such a maneuver would be a ticketable offense. “Yes, a ticket can be given since it’s considered the shoulder of the roadway,” said Axtman. “The ticket would be for wheels off roadway or illegally passing on right.” In addition, Axtman pointed out, “If there’s a sign restricting such movements, the driver could also receive a fail to obey restrictive sign ticket.”
Currently there is no sign in place that addresses driving on the shoulder.