Where to Ride Your Bike When There is no Designated Bike Lane

Bicycles are considered as vehicles. This means that bicyclists are expected to use the roadways like other vehicles, and have the rights and duties of motorists in the roadway.

Bicycle lanes refer to a section of the roadway that is designated for bicyclists. It is marked by a solid white line that breaks into a dotted line at corners. This traffic lane is different from the standard white lines marking the edge of the road in two ways: first, a bike lane follows specific width requirements, and second, it is clearly marked as a bicycle lane. But many roads don’t have designated traffic lanes for bicycles.

So, where should bicyclists ride their bikes?

Bicyclists are expected to share the traffic lane on the right (to the left of the white line marking the end of the road) so motorists overtake on your left side. If the traffic lane is narrow and there is no bicycle lane or shoulder, you should ride closer to the center of the lane to prevent motorists from passing you fast when there is not enough space.

Bicyclists are also allowed to use sidewalks, except in prohibited areas such as institutions and central business districts as per local ordinance. When riding your bike on a sidewalk, you should exercise the rights and duties of pedestrians. This means that you should not travel at speeds of 20 mph (or faster) on sidewalks as you place yourself and pedestrians at great risk.

When using the sidewalk, try to travel at the same speed as pedestrians to reduce conflicts. Similarly, use the traffic lane when moving at the same speed as the traffic around you. This is a safety measure to keep you away from drivers’ blind spots and to reduce the risk of conflicts with right-turning traffic.

Are bicyclists safe using the roadways with motorists?

Many bicyclists wonder whether they are justified to seek compensation from a motorist that knocks them down due to some confusion on the road.

The truth of the matter is, there are hundreds of thousands of bicycle collisions every year, some of which result in the death of the bicyclist. Some of these crashes are due to the behavior of the cyclist, while others are a result of the driver’s lack of attention.

Click here to discover how a bicycle accident attorney can help you file a personal injury lawsuit against reckless motorists, and prove that your fault (proportionate responsibility) was less than 50 percent in order to recover damages from the negligent party

Stay safe on the road

Bicyclists riding on public roads have the same rights and responsibilities as other road users, and are bound by the same rules and regulations. While motorists are expected to keep a certain distance when overtaking bicyclists and look carefully for bicyclists before turning right or opening doors, bicycle riders must also exercise caution.

This means riding in the same direction as the traffic; obeying traffic signs and signals and alerting other road users when changing lanes or turning using hand signals; protecting yourself with a bicycle helmet (required by law for riders under 18 years of age) and wearing a reflector; maintaining control of your bicycle; and being visible, alert, and prepared to take evasive action.

If you have questions about the laws affecting bicyclists, or have sustained injuries when riding due to the reckless actions of a motorist, it is important that you talk to a skilled bicycle accident lawyer to help you get the compensation you deserve.