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Some questions regarding 'breakdown lanes'.

MGL89-4B states:

Upon all ways the driver of a vehicle shall drive in the lane nearest the right side of the way when such lane is available for travel, except when overtaking another vehicle or when preparing for a left turn. When the right lane has been constructed or designated for purposes other than ordinary travel, a driver shall drive his vehicle in the lane adjacent to the right lane except when overtaking another vehicle or when preparing for a left or right turn; provided, however, that a driver may drive his vehicle in such right lane if signs have been erected by the department of highways permitting the use of such lane.

I'm trying to understand the language here. The placement of the word 'however' is what's throwing me off. Is this stating that one may only use the right-most non-travel lane only if signs have been erected permitting their use? I ask, because ocasionally I will see signs forbidding travel in the lane, but never have I seen one permitting it. It seems that the roads department, by only erecting signs forbidding its use is implying that unless noted, that it is legal.

Obviously you and I know that we'll get pulled over for driving there, but the law seems a bit confusing. I ride a moped on route 28 daily, and in the Medford area there are long stretches of the road where parking is permitted, but recently I have been getting flack from the state police for riding in the 'breakdown lane'. I'm not in the midst of fighting a ticket; I'm only trying to educate myself; which brings me to my second question:

As the above quoted section describes 'lanes' constructed or designated for purposes other than ordinary travel, what differentiates a 'lane' from simply the curb?

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The way I interpret the law, it says always stay to the right, unless passing and turning on the left. Also If a section of the road looks drivable, but has markings such as break down line, fire, emergency, bicycle, , parking, etc, do not consider that the right most lane, unless it is on the highway and the Department of the highway says it is OK to do.

There are two situations of that I know it is OK to do.

- Construction (they say use the break down lane with a sign)
- Rush hour north part of 93 north and south up around 495. During morning rush hour the south bound traffic can use the break down lane where marked. During evening the north bound traffic can use it as marked.

Submitted Tue, 03/20/2012 - 20:01

This law is telling you that you cannot drive in the break down lane unless there is signage indicating that you may. This is usually done when there is construction, or signage that permits such travel during rush hour traffic. Just because many signs say that you cannot travel in the breakdown lane does not mean that when there is no signage you can. Driving in the breakdown lane is only permitted when there is written notice.
Attorney Benjamin P. Urbelis

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