Follow the Rules of the Road

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by Eli Post



Bicycle riders have the same rights and responsibilities as any other vehicle operator, and are expected to follow the standard and legal rules of the road. These are the critical rules to follow:

• Ride on the right, with traffic. Always ride with traffic, and keep as far to the right as is safe. You have the right to take possession of a travel lane to set up for a left turn, to pass another vehicle, or to avoid an unsafe situation. “Taking the lane” (move towards the center of the lane) will help motorists see you sooner and discourage them from passing you under unsafe conditions.

• Be Predictable. Maintain a consistent lane position and be predictable. Do not weave from side to side, or suddenly move out into traffic. Be alert and plan ahead to avoid obstacles. If the road is too narrow for a bicycle and a car to travel side by side, occupy the lane until it is safe to move back to the right. Always check over your shoulder before changing your lane position. Never weave into and out of the spaces between parked cars.

• Obey traffic signs and signals. Stop for stop signs, lights and be prepared to stop at yields, and don’t be tempted to follow a group if it means not obeying the traffic controls.

• Use hand signals to communicate. It can be as simple as pointing in the direction you plan to go at an intersection. The standard hand signals are left hand straight out for “left turn”, up for “right turn”, and down for “stop”. You may also signal a right turn by extending your right hand straight out.

• Exercise caution around pedestrians. Exercise extra caution around walkers and runners, and alert them that you’re approaching before passing with a bell or call. Bicyclists must yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, and be extra careful on multi—use paths and sidewalks.

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