Lane-change rule hasn't changed

Has there been a change in the changing-lanes-in-an-intersection rule? Two of my friends recently received tickets for this in Medford, so I am wondering.

— Brandie M., via email

The rules are still the same, Brandie. Changing lanes in an intersection is legal but discouraged — and by "discouraged," we don't mean the Medford Police Department is handing out tickets for it.

Brandie, it could be that your friends misunderstood the tickets. Possible explanations for their "intersection" citations could be that they were trying to pass a vehicle by crossing into the lane of oncoming traffic, crossing multiple lanes of traffic in order to turn or changing lanes without "reasonable safety," said Medford police Lt. Bob Hansen. Of course, none of this can be known for sure without looking at the ticket.

Although it's not prohibited, police do not recommend changing lanes in an intersection because of the potential for problems.

"You've got the other vehicles going the same direction," said Hansen. "You've got cars coming the opposite direction. You've got cross traffic. You've got pedestrians in the crosswalks. There are a lot of things going on, so it's very busy."

In the future, if you're unsure why you or your friends received a ticket, "Google" the statute or ask the officer to explain it, Hansen said.

"You may not understand exactly what the law is ... because you've heard it from others who don't understand the law," he said.

Of course, you also can always ask your trusted Since You Asked Traffic Team to look into it for you.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

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