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Air Force
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280 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So one of my friends drove me to class today and we got slowed down behind a person on a beater commuter road bike. He was riding down the middle of the lane at around 15mph in a 20mph street. The lane is wide enough for a cars to drive past another when they are waiting to turn.

My friend does not ride and became impatient really quick and wanted to pass him on the right while he is riding in the middle of the lane (thats how much room there is). I see him when I get out to go to class and say the he should ride on the right side of the lane. He says they as a right he gets the whole lane.

I had no idea what to say because I was always taught to share the road and keep myself safe.

Is he right and I have learned to ride my bike on the road wrong? Or is he adding to the hate of cyclist by drivers?
 

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LCI #1853
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134 Posts
Cyclists are safest when they act and are treated in return as drivers of vehicles.

Where you ride on the road depends to a great deal on how wide the traffic lane is. In a "narrow" lane, which is defined as a lane where there isn't enough room to ride side-by-side with a motor vehicle and leave about 3 feet space between you, the prudent cyclist "takes" or "controls" the lane by riding about where the right wheel track would be for a car. This way a car passing you has to pass you like any other car by clearing any oncoming traffic and crossing the center line when it's safe and legal to do so. If they try to squeeze past you, forcing you into the ditch or gutter, you compensate by moving a little farther to the left and claiming more of the traffic lane.

A majority of states have a law which requires cyclists and other slow(er) traffic to drive "as far to the right as is practicable." The operative word here is PRACTICABLE, not practical or possible. It means as far right as it is safe to do so, you still retain the right to control that lane when you need to, and to move left on the raodway when you need to, such as when making a left turn, passing slower traffic yourself, or when avoiding a road hazard.
 

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Air Force
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280 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yeah I understand that but my friend thought he had enough room to pass him on the right. Thats how far over and wide the lane is. If I wasn't there he would have tried to pass him for sure. I live in Illinois and I believe we have that rule/law and that how I ride and I think I ride fairly safe.
 

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Air Force
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280 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I will read that to make sure that I am doing it right but he said he "has the right to ride in the middle of the lane." I think there is a difference between making yourself safe and trying to slow down traffic. Thanks for the post because I ride in single lane high mph roads all the time and have been buzzed my share of times.
 

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I was politely pulled to the side by a police for riding down the middle a couple hundred feet, and making a left turn. I found it the safest way, but safest isn't the most legal. He told me from now on to just take the lane. He was really civil and understanding about it... especially for my location (Central West Vrginia). I think twice before doing "urban riding" techniques anymore.
 
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