I don't know what the law says about this here in Virginia and I really don't care because the lanes exist and people use them however they see fit. The issue seems to be another one of those "you just better watch your ass because some idiot is aimed at you" traffic maneuvers that can be dangerous if you aren't paying attention. I've seen people drive for an entire block in the turn lane as well as use it as a merge lane and I've never seen a police officer stop anyone for it. Around here we also use the left turn lane to store road salt, sand, broken glass, etc. that you have to be careful of. It's just another of the thousands of things to keep on your radar as you ride if you want to live to ride another day, not something to get too upset about. I worry more about the white-tailed deer around here - those fookers don't pay ANY attention to the laws about crossing or merging with traffic and I've never once seen the cops pull one of them over!