Cyclists: know the rules of the road, and your rights!

As cycling has become a viable alternative mode of transportation in many areas of the United States in recent years, the issue of promoting cycling safety has grown in importance. Bikers, of course, need to understand that it is not only motor vehicle drivers who have obligations on the road, but that they do as well. For the most part, cyclists are bound by the same rules as motorists, and must follow traffic rules or face the consequences.

That being said, cyclists also have the same right to use the road that motorists have, and they should not be made to feel guilty for exercising that right. Among these rights is that of the ability to bike on the actual road rather than on a sidewalk. While those who are new to cycling are often nervous about biking on the road at first, it is actually not so bad one you get the hang of it.

Still, there are some precautions to follow. One of them, which actually is a rule of the road for cyclists, is to utilize bike lanes when they are available, and to stay as far to the right as is practicable when they are not. The reasons for staying to the far right are obvious, but bikers should also know that they have the right to ride further out toward the traffic lane when there are conditions on the side of the road which could lead to an accident.

Such conditions include debris in the road, potholes or a parked car. Another possible condition could be that the road is so narrow that a motor vehicle’s attempt to pass the cyclists would be inherently dangerous. In that case, a cyclist would be allowed to move into the lane and make their presence known.

Bikers, of course, are well aware of the fact that they are most at risk in a bicycle accident, and should always exercise their rights accordingly. They should also be aware that they have the right to seek appropriate compensation when they are injured by a motorist who fails to exercise reasonable care in the operation of his or her vehicle. Working with an experienced attorney in such cases is important in order to ensure a favorable outcome.

Source: Tampabay.com, “Don’t be afraid to bike on the road, but know the rules,” Bob Griendling, October 2, 2014.