Bikes are often exposed to danger when riding alongside a road filled with cars, trucks, and more. Hence it’s no wonder that bikers have a rule of thumb on biking on the right side of the road.
When it comes to knowing which side of the road do you bike on, there are different factors to consider: the country you’re in or the specified lanes provided to avoid accidents or inconvenience.
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Which Side Do You Ride a Bike on the Road?
It’s common to always bike on the right side when knowing which side of the road you should bike on, even if there is no bike lane. There are, however, other aspects to consider:
When it comes to cycling on the road, bikers often opt to bike on the drive side of the bike. The drive-side, usually located on the right, is determined by where you start pedaling, your dominant foot.
Pedaling on the right or left side often gives way to more oversized vehicles to avoid accidents. However, people would ride on the left side when switching lanes or turning around, as cars and trucks also use the left side to turn.
Riding at the center of a lane entails a biker taking over the road and switching lanes. While it’s allowed to ride at the center of the road, it’s an accident-prone area for bikers.
2. Depending on the country
Different countries have different bike-related laws. In the USA, the right side of the road is where Bicycles should ride on. They are considered vehicles; therefore, bikers must follow the proper road rules as any other driver.
Most countries like Canada, Italy, Spain, and other African countries would also ride on the right side of the road, following the United States. Some would even deem it illegal to ride a bike on the left side of the road.
However, other countries like the UK and almost 50 countries allow bikers to ride on the left to accommodate left-side drivers and left-hand bikers who consider the left their drive-side.
3. Priority bike lanes
Some countries, including the US, have established bike lanes. These priority bike lanes accommodate a safer path for riding a bike on the road. They could take up half a route or the entire trail.
These lanes are on any side of the street–mainly to the right–wherein they can easily avoid other vehicles. It allows you to use the road rather than ride your bike on the sidewalk.
In tandem with these special lanes, governments also employ laws for bikers. Some towns and cities even promote laws and commercials to walk or bike instead of using cars to help lessen pollution.
Rules of the Road
As bikes are considered vehicles on the road, there are no exceptions for bikers regarding road rules. Even smaller vehicles must be responsible enough to know the laws of the road for their safety and others.
Apart from knowing, there are also rules that bikers should follow for their safety; these include:
- Wear a helmet and other reflective materials on yourself and your bike–especially in the dark– to keep you safe from accidents.
- When riding together or alone, ride in a single file alongside the traffic.
- Obeying all traffic signs, signal lights, and hand signals and appropriately using them.
- Looking around and being aware and alert when crossing or switching lanes.
- Using bike lanes is a must when provided. Otherwise, bike on the right or left side.
- Maintain and check your bike for safety purposes.
Those are only a few road rules that we must note when riding a bicycle, other than paying to bicycle drive side only. We must be responsible enough to follow all regulations and laws when biking and take accountability for any misconduct.
1. Why is it safer for riders to ride with traffic?
Road rules and laws indicate which side or lane you should bike on. However, aside from complying with road rules, it’s safe for bikers to ride in traffic rather than against it.
Riding in traffic also shows yourself to other drivers and makes it easier for them to spot and avoid you. It reduces any chance of them hitting any pedestrians and getting into accidents themselves.
2. Is it illegal to ride on the wrong side?
When choosing which side of the road do you ride a bike on, we would always play it safe and ride on the prescribed lanes or generally on the right. Some people, however, would opt to ride on the wrong side of the road.
In some states and countries, it’s considered illegal to ride a bike on the left side or the wrong side of the road, against traffic. It’s a hazard to not only you but other vehicles and people on the road as well.
3. Reasons why some people ride on the wrong side
Even if it’s widely known that riding on the wrong side of the road is illegal and unsafe, other bikers still do it for a few reasons:
In most cases, bikers would switch to the wrong lane to quickly get to their location or because other vehicles aren’t in sight. Sometimes it’s based on their familiarity with the area and how they deem some paths as shortcuts.
- Bad Infrastructure
Bikers would also switch to the wrong lane when the road is in repair or with unstable infrastructure. These are possible obstacles to their way. Hence they find other alternate routes, which also lead to the wrong side of the road.
When on your bike, it’s imperative to remember that riding on the safest side is essential, no matter where you’re going. It doesn’t only keep you safe, but depending on the right side of the road would also help you comply with the law.
Knowing more about the safest lanes and rules to follow when biking helps improve your bike experience, especially when you know which route to go. Now, which side of the road do you bike on?
“I ride my bike to work for years, but is that enough? Our carelessness towards our surroundings has taken a toll on the environment. And now, everyone is responsible for changes; even the most minor contribution is counted. With this hope and spirit, I started with my partner to establish Biketoworkday to help more individuals commute to their work sites on their bikes.”