Though motorists often assume that bicycles are slower than cars, there are many cases where that simply isn’t true. This misconception presents a danger, as many drivers assume they will never be passed by cyclists, are they simply don’t expect it to happen. Also, many cyclists are not aware of how to properly (and safely) pass a motorist.
Rules regarding bicycle right of way may vary based on the jurisdiction, so it is important to be aware of local laws. These general rules of thumb, however, cover some of the basics.
If you are cycling on a path or on the road, it is important to pass others with caution. Instead of speeding by someone, slow down a bit, especially when passing another cyclist. Audibly let them know of your presence. This may be required by law in some areas, and is always a good idea.
What is the Right of Way of a Cyclist
Bicyclists should not pass on the right in an intersection- just as when driving a car, it presents a danger. If there is a car in the bike lane, you can pass it by moving around it to the left, into the vehicular lane, is necessary, followed by merging back into the bike lane. Be aware of the traffic around you, and try not to weave in and out of traffic. Not only is this bad practice- it’s also dangerous and potentially illegal.
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If you are on a sidewalk or a path used by both cyclists and pedestrians, slow your rate of speed before passing. Make an audible signal to insure they hear you coming. If you are close enough to touch them when passing, you need to slow even more. Remember there is no such thing as too much room when passing someone. Allow as wide a berth as possible.
In areas where motorists and cyclists share the same lane, ride as close to the right of the lane as possible. Although the rule of thumb is that people should pass on the left, in situations like this it is generally acceptable to pass on the right. Share the lane, remain as close to the right as possible, and pass with a safe distance between you and the vehicles on the road. Remember, too, that those vehicles may start to move again or speed up without notice, so be aware of their presence around you.
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On narrow roads or paths, it is usually acceptable to ride in the middle of the lane. Again, it is important to exercise caution when passing another vehicle (or being passed by another vehicle) on these roads. If you feel you are being encroached upon by an insistent driver, it may be best to pull off to the side of the road and let them pass in these conditions. If a driver is turning right, it is usually acceptable to pass to the left under these conditions, as well.
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Sharing the road with other cyclists, motorists, and pedestrians can be complicated. Laws vary by jurisdiction, and what is safe in one area might not be in another. That’s why it is important to work with someone who knows the law. If you have been in a bicycle crash while riding, contact the experienced team at Kass & Moses for representation. They will work tirelessly to help you recover compensation for your injuries.