reponse to phil...

response to phil...

a comment was made by a reader named phil
something about how he thought that bicycles were supposed to ride as far to the
right of the road as they possibly can

phil... I think that the law is that the cyclist is to ride as far to the right
as they feel is safe
and well...
that is often the center of the lane
my life is important to me... but my life is not so important to the car driver behind me

the car driver may try to make an unsafe pass risking my life
so... there are times when I take the full lane
making the intelligent decision for those not smart enough to make the right choice
everyone's best interest is being taken into account
in the end... the driver does not get to their destination any later

and I arrive alive

I am not sure if I will ever understand the logic of the car driver
the frustration that they feel when they are behind a cyclist
the never ending need to be in front of that person on the bicycle
it is odd
it is absurd


GhostRider said...

Yes, the important word in most state laws is "practicable", not "possible". When the right-hand edge of the road is unsafe (obstructions, debris, etc.), we have every right to take as much of the travel lane as we need to proceed. Motorists will just have to wait until it is safe to pass us (not that many of them really give a crap about our safety!).

And, since "practicable" is so open to interpretation, a judge would be hard-pressed to make charges stick to a cyclist unless he or she was blatantly impeding traffic flow.

Ofc. K. Coffey said...

Yep. As far right as practicable, not possible. If that means taking the lane to be safe, then take the lane.

K (bike officer, who happily writes tickets to aggressive motor vehicle drivers)

Jeff said...

From the Uniform Vehicle Code:

11-1205.Position on roadway
(a) Any person operating a bicycle or a moped upon a roadway at less than the normal
speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall ride as
close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except under any of the
following situations:
1. When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same
2. When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.
3. When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions including, but not limited to, fixed or
moving objects, parked or moving vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, surface
hazards, or substandard width lanes that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand
curb or edge. For purposes of this section, a "substandard width lane" is a lane that is too
narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.
4. When riding in the right turn only lane.
(b) Any person operating a bicycle or a moped upon a one-way highway with two or
more marked traffic lanes may ride as near the left-hand curb or edge of such roadway as

Most city and state laws are based on this, but not all. DC's code makes allowance for cyclists to use the full lane when less than 14 ft. wide (Eric, correct me if I'm wrong on this). California and a few other states simply allow for full use of lane.

gwadzilla said...

it would be interesting to increase the difficulty of the test

maybe offer an IQ test rather than a driving test

it boggles the mind that the average driver ever took a test to get a license

Phil said...

Just want to make clear that I am not taking issue with the right of bicyclists to use the lane.

In DC in particular, all but a very few streets would be considered narrow (most DC streets are in the 11ft range according to a DDOT pamphlet).

There is a very fine line between 'practicable' and 'possible' and I definitely framed that in terms that are similar to the actual statute. What I am getting at is that in cases where it is possible or practicable, the bicyclist is obligated under the law to yield to the overtaking vehicle. As cyclists, we need to keep this in mind when we assert our rights on the road.

gwadzilla said...

it is up the cyclist to put themselves where they are most safe

cruising in the door zone
hovering in the gutter
dangerous places to be
a simple crash on the bike may make a flesh speed bump for the fast approaching cars

my position on the road is always changing

trying to maintain flow

not trying to get a line of cars behind me

but... if the cars line up behind me
their arrival time will not be changed dramatically
they may be frustrated by having to follow behind for 30 seconds

it seems like a long time to these guys...

Jeff said...

the bicyclist is obligated under the law to yield to the overtaking vehicle.

This simply isn't true. The responsibility is on the overtaking vehicle to yield.

In the case of the 11ft. lanes, it is too narrow for a cyclist and a car to share the lane safely. Trying to do so is far more likely to lead to a crash than if the cyclist controls the lane and the vehicle passes in the adjacent lane or slows down for the cyclist (gasp!)

dc2wheel said...

I suppose it doesn't help that DC car drivers are the worst in the country.