This post is making it’s way around facebook currently. When do you ride in the middle of the lane?
1) Avoiding debris: About two weeks ago I was riding on Bridgeport Road, where it is one-way, with three lanes. The right-hand lane is a bit wider than an average lane (it would be nice if they painted a bike lane), so there wasn’t really that much of a problem with sharing the lane. However, I did come across quite a bit of debris from an accident – glass etc., so I had to move out into the lane. A car passed by very close to me and then stopped at a stop light. I politely asked the driver to give me more space next time. She said that I needed to be closer to the curb. I explained that I was going around glass. She said she had no way of knowing that and that going close to me was the only way to pass me without changing lanes. I asked her to be more considerate of cyclist safety as she rolled up her window.
2) Avoiding the door zone: I do this one all the time. I also check the driver’s seats of parked cars to see if anyone in them, as I bike by. The idea of being “doored” scares me.
3) The lane is too narrow: When I’m biking to and from work, along Queen Street, I ride in the middle of the right-hand lane from Belmont to Fisher Hallman, because the lane is too narrow for me and a car. There is also the left-hand lane for cars to drive in as they pass me. Traffic is not that heavy on Queen Street, but 3 or 4 times a week, some driver will drive up close behind me and honk for me to get out of their way, even though the left lane is empty.
4) To give cars more notice to pass safely: This kind of goes with number 3, I think.
5) To improve safety and vantage point: I’ve thought a lot about his one recently. I’ve noticed that, when I am riding close to the curb, I have more difficulty making eye contact with drivers on my right that pull up on a road or in a driveway that is perpendicular to the road on which I am travelling. If I move out a little bit, the driver sees me, waits, and I can ride past safely.
6) Riding on the sidewalk: It’s against the law to ride on the sidewalk here. I do it occasionally, when the roadway seems unsafe or the drivers are particularly aggressive.
7) To share the road and use one lane: I mostly ride in the middle of lanes on multi-lane roads (see #3). However, I sometimes bike along Fisher Hallman, between Ottawa Street and Huron Road to get to a friend’s house. At one point there is only one narrow lane each way and the white line is painted right on the edge of the pavement. I tried biking near the side of the lane, but got pushed off the road a couple of times. Now, I ride in the centre of the lane for a short distance until the road widens, because it is the only safe way to bike on this section of road. A few drivers have been angry.
8) To prepare for a left turn: I guess this one is obvious. I do it when I have to turn left.
9) Legal right to the lane: Even though a bicycle has a legal right to take up a lane, I only do it if I feel unsafe riding near the curb. My preference would be bike lanes everywhere!!!
I’d like to see the points made in the facebook post and some others about how driver’s can share the roads safely with cyclists as part of the driver’s exam. What do you think?