ABQ by Cycle: National Bike Challenge Prep Pt. 2

Good Day My Happy Peddlers,

We are just 8 days away from the start of the National Bike Challenge. I have a whole new set of informative videos from the League of American Bicyclists as well as helpful tips from the League to get you ready.  So, here we go, have fun and learn something new!

Better Bicycling

 Lane Changing

Changing lanes in traffic can be challenging. Here’s how you can change lanes with confidence:

  • Plan ahead, anticipate where you are going to need to be on the road
  • Look behind you, possibly several times
  • Signal where you are going
  • Act carefully, smoothly and deliberately

Intersection Positioning

Since most crashes happen at intersections, be sure to reduce your risk by being visible, positioning yourself clearly on the road, and making eye contact with other drivers.

When you are coming up to a multi-lane intersection, you will want to be in the right-most lane that is traveling in the direction you are going. Where you are within the lane depends on the intersection.

Bike Lanes

A bike lane is a striped and signed lane that provides a dedicated space on the road for people on bikes. They should be used the same as any other travel lane, so follow the same rules of the road.

Things to look out for:
•    Parked cars.  Be sure you ride far enough over to stay clear of an opening car door
•    Vehicles that are turning right without a signal

Even if your community has a law that says you have to ride in a bike lane, there are exceptions:
•    Making a left turn
•    Passing another bicyclist
•    Going around hazards

As with any other lane changes, be sure to first scan, signal and yield.

Traffic Laws

In all 50 states, people on bikes are required to follow the same laws as other drivers.

Here are a few key principles that underpin all US traffic laws:

First Come, First Served
Everyone on the road is entitled to the lane width they need. This includes the space behind, to each side and the space in front. If you want to use someone else’s space you must yield to whoever is using it.

Ride on the Right
In the United States, everyone must drive on the right-hand side of the roadway.

Yielding to Crossing Traffic
When you come to an intersection, if you don’t have the right of way, you must yield.

Yielding when Changing Lanes
If you want to change lanes, you must yield to traffic that is in your new lane of travel.

Speed Positioning
The slowest vehicles on the road should be the furthest to the right. Where you position yourself on the road depends on the location of any parked cars, your speed, and your destination. Always pass on the left.

Lane Positioning
Bikes can share the same lane with other drivers. If a lane is wide enough to share with another vehicle (about 14 feet), ride three feet to the right of traffic. If the lane is not wide enough to share, “take the lane” by riding in the middle.

Intersection positioning
When there is a lane that is used for more than one direction, use the rightmost lane going in the direction you are traveling.

Follow all street signs, signals, and markings

Riding on the Sidewalk

When you are riding on the sidewalk, you also have to deal with many hazards: pedestrians, street furniture, signs, newspaper boxes, etc… These items don’t just make riding inconvenient; they also can make you invisible to drivers.

Sharing the Trail

Since the path can be congested it’s important to follow the same rules as everyone else in order to have a safe and enjoyable time.

•    Be courteous
•    Know the rules of the trail you are using
•    Give a clear signal when passing
•    Be cautious and yield to crossing traffic
•    Always be predictable by riding in a straight line
•    If you are riding while it is dark, be sure to use lights
•    Only use half the width of the trail
•    Keep it clean

Where Should I Ride?

The law states that people on bikes should ride as far right as practicable, but what exactly does that mean?

It does not mean that you have to ride in the gutter — never ride there. If you’re on a road that is too narrow to share with another vehicle, you should be in the middle of the lane. You do not want to give motorists the opportunity to try to squeeze past you. When the lane is wide enough to share (around 14 feet), you should place yourself three feet away from traffic.

What the League is taking about here is Taking the Lane. The subject of taking the lane has mixed feelings within the cycling community. From what I gather, most cyclists against taking the lane feel that it is dangerous because it might anger automobile drivers.

While this might be true in certain situations, I have found it to be less so for me personally. Typically, I take the lane when there is a change in the road condition that will make it unsafe for an automobile driver to try and pass me.

For example, the lane to my left closed because of construction and  to my right is a line of parked cars. In this situation a  driver might be tempted to pass me within the same lane that I am riding in. I will take the lane until it is safe for me to move back over to right side (such as the absence of parked cars or the reopening of the left lane), thus allowing the driver to pass me safely.

Taking a lane can feel intimidating. Here’s how to take a lane with confidence (notice that the step are the same as changing lanes):

  • Plan ahead, anticipate where you are going to need to be on the road
  • Look behind you, possibly several times
  • Signal where you are going
  • Act carefully, smoothly and deliberately


Notice that the cyclist’s left hand leave his handle bars. It is at this point that he is signalling his intention to the drivers behind him. Once it is safe the cyclist move back to the right, and the cars can safely pass him. No horn honking, no aggressive gestures, and no expletive deleted.


until tomorrow






One thought on “ABQ by Cycle: National Bike Challenge Prep Pt. 2

  1. Pingback: ABQ by Cycle: National Bike Challenge Prep Pt. 3 | fuel

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