Biking in the Middle of the Lane

Have you ever been driving and encountered a bicyclist riding in the middle of the lane or 2 cyclists riding side by side? Perhaps you have driven up to a stop sign and a bicycle is in front of you sitting in the middle of the lane. This may be mystifying to drivers who have no knowledge of bicycle safety rules. At its worst it can be a factor in causing frustration and anger for the motorist.

Operators of motor vehicles often complain that bicycles don’t belong in traffic lanes, impede traffic, don’t have licenses, and don’t pay gas taxes for the upkeep of roadways. In actuality bicycles are considered to be vehicles in the state of Georgia and in many other states and have a right to the use of the roadway. They also must abide by most of the same traffic laws as motor vehicles. Additionally most people who bicycle also own motor vehicles and do indeed pay gas taxes.

Safety the Main Consideration

There are certain situations where riding in the middle of the lane, being in the middle of the lane at an intersection or stop sign, and riding 2 abreast is important for protecting the safety of the bicycle rider. An article from Cycling Savvy gives very clear explanations for those safety reasons. A bicycle operating in the middle lane protects them from some of the most common car versus bicycle accidents such as:

• Sideswipes
• Right hooks
• Left crosses
• Drive-outs
• Opening car doors

On most roads, the outside lanes are 10 to 12 feet wide. By law, a motorist must allow 3 feet of clearance when passing a cyclist and passing a cyclist closer than 3 feet is illegal. This means that a lane would have to be 14 feet wide to be considered wide enough to share.

When a motor vehicle tries to squeeze past a bicycle in a lane that is too narrow to share a sideswipe is a common accident. Riding a bicycle in the middle of the lane prevents the sideswipe while riding and while waiting at a traffic signal or stop sign. This also applies to 2 cyclists riding along side of each other.

Right hooks happen when a motorist passes a bicycle traveling in the same direction then makes a right turn into the path of the bicycle. Riding in the middle of the lane prevents this right hook from happening.

Left crosses happen when a motorist approaching an intersection makes a left turn into the path of an oncoming bicycle. Here again, the cyclist is not as visible as when riding in the middle of the lane.

Drive outs happen when the bicyclist is riding on the sidewalk, bike lane, or close to the edge of the road and is not as visible to the motorist who is entering the road from a side road, intersection or driveway. Additionally riding on sidewalks and close to the edge of the road may add blind spots & physical hazards such as power poles, mail & newspaper boxes, and shrubs & tree limbs.

Riding center lane can also help prevent running into an opening door from a car that is parked. This is another common accident, and can be very serious. Many cyclists have been killed after hitting a car door and being thrown into oncoming traffic.

Any bicyclist who has been injured in a car accident should seek the advice of a car accident attorney who can protect their rights and help them get the compensation they need for their damages. Most personal injury attorneys offer a free initial consultation to review your accident injury claim and give you the legal advice you need.

If you have been injured in an Atlanta bicycle accident, the first thing you should do after receiving medical care for your injuries is to contact an Atlanta bicycle accident attorney. A personal injury attorney handles many types of accident injury cases including bicycle accidents and car accidents. He has your back and will make sure you receive full and fair compensation for your accident injuries. He knows how to negotiate on your behalf so that the insurance company does not short change you.

Atlanta Bicycle Accident Attorney Joel Baskin

Contact attorney Joel Baskin for a free initial consultation. Joel has been serving accident victims in the Atlanta area including Cobb & Fulton counties for over two decades.