Rules of the Road - Cycling Magazine

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Wednesday 12 July 2017

Rules of the Road

Rules of the Road

YOUR RULES OF THE ROAD WILL VARY STATE BY STATE, SO TO find out yours, go to your local DMV or ask your statewide bike advocacy group. Most provide information on their websites or can send you a pamphlet. No matter where you ride though, there are some general road rules that are universal.

Be Predictable 

Nobody feels safe around the car that’s swerving all over the lane, not using signals, acting all crazy by suddenly stopping or accelerating in odd places with no warning. Ride as you would drive—as if you were trying to pass a driver’s license test.

Follow the Laws

In most states, bikes are treated like vehicles (and ticketed accordingly). When riding in the road, always signal, make complete stops at signs, and wait for red lights and your turn to maneuver.

Ride to the Right

Always ride with the flow of traffic—to the right. However, if there is no shoulder and you’re riding on a two-way street, it’s always safer to stay in the imprint of the right car wheel well in the road. This will keep you on the right but far enough left to be more visible and avoid opening doors from parked cars. It also forces cars behind you to move into the oncoming lane to pass you, making them slow down and give you more room—a win/win situation.
If you’re transitioning for a left turn, you’ll want to move from the right to the middle of the lane or merge into the left turn lane if available. Make sure to check over your left shoulder for oncoming traffic and signal left before moving over to your new position in the road.

Share the Road 

Whether it’s with cars, pedestrians, or your fellow cyclists, be courteous. Keep in mind that being on the road is a privilege, not a right.

Be a Defensive Rider 

When it comes down to it, in a conflict on the road, most motor vehicles around you will win. You may have the law of the land on your side, but the laws of physics are on theirs. Keep an eye out for dangerous, unpredictable riders; drivers; and road hazards.

Wear a Helmet 

Although it isn’t mandatory in most states for adults to wear helmets, it’s always a smart idea that can save your life. This is a no-brainer.

Avoid Riding on Sidewalks 

Terrible sight lines and people entering and exiting doorways and driveways mean riding on sidewalks is an accident waiting to happen. If you find yourself forced onto the sidewalk, slow to a speed no faster than most people could jog—about 6 to 8 miles per hour—until you can get back on the road.

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