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3 rules for biking on the road safely with cars

While bicyclists have just as much of a right to the road as other vehicles, riding alongside cars and trucks can still be intimidating. It’s important to know where to bike and how to maneuver around other vehicles on the road to keep yourself safe.

Here are three rules to be aware of when biking on the road.

Ride close to the curb

When a bike line isn’t provided, bicyclists have the right to use the lane. If they are traveling slower than the flow of traffic, they must ride as close to the curb as possible. Exceptions include:

  • If lane is too narrow for the bicycle and car to travel safely side by side
  • If the bicycle is making a left turn
  • Passing
  • Avoiding hazardous conditions
  • Approaching a place where a right turn is authorized

However, if you are moving as fast as traffic, you can ride wherever you’d like.

Use a bicycle lane when provided

Bicyclists have the right to use the full lane, but California law says bicyclists must use a designated bicycle lane when one is provided if they are moving slower than traffic. The same exceptions for riding close to the curb apply to using the bike lane. 

Pass right-turning cars the right way

Bicyclists should keep an eye on other vehicles at all times, particularly as turns are approaching. Vehicles are instructed to drive into the bike lane to make a right turn, so as to avoid cutting off bicyclists. If they are following their guidelines, they will initiate the turn 50 to 200 feet before the curb.

Those in the bike lane should pass those vehicles on the left side as they merge into the bike lane. Vehicles and bicyclists following these guidelines can avoid “right hook” collisions, which have historically been a top cause for injury crashes.

You can’t always predict the behavior of other vehicles and they don’t always follow their own rules for sharing the road with you. Nonetheless, knowing how you can best maneuver around them will help provide a safer road experience for everyone. Following these safety tips can help decrease your risk of getting into an accident

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