Following last week’s post about turning and intersection safety, this week we’re focusing on another important bike commuting skill: lane positioning. Anyone who rides in traffic should take care to consistently and safely position themselves in traffic. Adhering to the following guidelines will help increase your predictability and safety on the road during Bike Month and beyond.
1. Ride as far to the right as is reasonable (not necessarily as far to the right as is possible). This means that you should leave at least three feet of space between you and the right edge of the lane. The right edge may be a curb, a soft shoulder, parked cars or moving vehicles. This buffer makes cyclists more visible to traffic coming from both directions, protects cyclists from getting ‘doored’ by parked cars, allows cyclists to ride in a straight, predictable line, and provides space to maneuver around most roadside hazards–rocks, potholes, storm drains, and debris–in their path.
2. Ride in a straight line and avoid weaving in and out between parked cars. Holding a straight line will make you more visible and more predictable to other road users, thereby decreasing the chance of conflict and making the road safer for all.
3. When stopping at an intersection, act like a car and stay in your lane. If you are behind a line of cars, do not sneak up to the front around the right side of the cars in your lane. This dangerous maneuver makes cyclists less visible and less predictable to motorists, particularly those making right turns.