So as I understand it, I am within my legal rights in my state ¶ to ride my bike in car lanes. In fact as I understand it, I am supposed to be given 4 feet and I can take an entire lane if I want.
to be fair, I never knew this until I started riding on the road last spring…so I’m sure most people are not aware.
So on roads such as pictured below, I prefer to be on the road rather than the gutter…I ride ~6 inches to the left of the white line
On this road I have pictured below, I got honked at like literally 10 times in 10 minutes and one guy slowed his truck down and the passenger yelled furiously out the window “ride in the bike lane you !@#$%@#%!!”. lol.
The road itself has basically constant traffic.
just wondering if I am being obnoxious or if people are over-reacting.
I have had 3 flats riding in gutters in the last year (two nails and a piece of glass). I also feel very vulnerable in that I can’t swerve to avoid anything if needed. The gutters always have a good bit of gravel at best to whatever people decide to throw out their car at worst. They also are not maintained as well as the roads in terms of cracks / holes. This section of road the gutter is wide enough to ride on technically but it can get narrower in sections.
You will be to some people. You could ride in the shoulder and they would find you obnoxious. The people who think like that will hate you no matter what you do… so you keep riding safe and fuck em.
That shoulder appears to be 2/3 the width of the driving lane. It’s a size I can only wish to have compared to ones far smaller than that if there’s anything more than a space the width of a double-wide stripe.
I get that there is debris there, but I’d sure have a tendency to use that if at all possible, particularly given the amount of traffic you describe. I choose my road tires as the durable ones just to deal with stuff like that so I can freely ride where I want on the road.
Road rights or not, I’d rather be safe and out of harms way more than hit by an inattentive or irritated driver. Sometimes it’s necessary or unavoidable to be in the driving lane, and that’s the risk we take being there, but in this day and age I take the path less traveled in situations like this.
If the road has that much traffic and dirty gutters, I would try to find an alternative route or ride at a different time of day/week. You have the right to be there, but I prefer feeling safe to feeling “right”.
I have only one mantra when I’m out riding: I have to return home safely and in one piece. This trumps everything else.
So in this case I’d swallow my pride (and rights) and ride on the shoulder, or (if possible) I’d look for another route
What is the speed limit on that road?
That looks like the type of road I’ll come across while driving somewhere and think, this’d be a nice road to ride.
Then I ride it and it’s just stressful and not worth it.
Either you’re on a decent width shoulder for a while but then have to cut into the lane occasionally to avoid glass and debris. Or, you’re in the lane and have cars up your arse half the time. Both are punishment passes waiting to happen.
I hope it’s not like the above—it shouldn’t be.
Do wide loads, pickup trucks with trailers, or camper vans pass by? That also factors in for me and these rural roads.
I didn’t answer your question, sorry. Maybe it’s a good weekend morning route when traffic is lighter. Use a bright, bright tail light if you take the lane in low traffic. They won’t be expecting you as they cruise along above the speed limit.
Stay safe and hopefully it works out. It looks nice.
Most of our roadways are like what you have pictured here. I dont ride on the road. The shoulder where I am is perfectly fine most of the time. There are cases where the shoulder has broken down and I will tend to avoid those roads or ride on the road for the short part that presents that problem.
Being right as a cyclist doesnt mean it is safe for you.
I ride with the attitude of “it doesn’t matter who’s ‘right’. If a car hits you, it wins every. single. time.”… ride on the shoulder or find a different road.
I’d be in the bike lane to the right. It’s not the dude calling you names that’s going to hit you it’s the person on their way to work sipping a coffee and shuffling their Spotify playlist that will get you, because they won’t see you. And to be fair they’ll hit you whether you’re in the middle of the road or hugging the gutter.
I’ve found that if I put out good vibes I (usually) get it back. I always snap off a salute if a car stops at an unmarked intersection and lets me go by, If I’m first in line at a red light (with no bike lane) and the person behind in their car wants to turn I’ll scoot up onto the sidewalk so they can take their free right turn. I make deliberate eye contact, actively scan, and it seems to work pretty well.
My routes avoid traffic where possible and I typically defer to any and all 3,500lbs guided missiles, no matter how much of a badass I think I am. I don’t “take the lane” or ride on the left hand side of the bike lane close to traffic (situational as I can see your point about debris) and in my experience I rarely…and I do mean rarely get honked at or have a negative interaction…but I did have an interaction similar to yours a couple years ago;
I was riding some rolling hills next to a river there’s no shoulder and a very rough and steep drop if you get to close so I was out a bit (but not too much) and it’s a windy up and down road with two narrow lanes and the undulations make it tough to see oncoming traffic so cars behind cannot pass. There was a car stuck behind me for a bit (just pass already don’t be afraid) and when they could finally pass the guy sped up and his passenger rolled down the window of their Subaru station wagon as they slowed next me. My thoughts of “aaahhhh cute dog” (in the passengers lap) were interrupted by her screeching at me to “get out of the road you douchebag!!”. She yelled so loud it actually surprised me she must have been in her 60’s or 70’s…I laughed when she screamed, I thought it was hysterical.
Stay safe out there…
Ranges from city to very rural depending on what part you are on.
Good point and looking back at the picture it does seem like a wide shoulder as opposed to a marked and designated bike lane.
Once I’m on the shoulder and riding in it I guess I think of it as a bike lane, lol.
In my opinion, the passenger in the truck was the obnoxious one! Not all state laws are the same, but if yours says you have the right to be there, you do! BUT…
I’ll mirror what many others have said already… SAFETY FIRST! I’d rather ride on the shoulder and risk having to fix a puncture vs being plastered face down on the pavement by an angry and/or inattentive driver who might take me out (accidentally, NOT intentionally… i hope), because in car vs. bike, car will win 100% of the time.
If it’s that busy of a road I’d definitely take my chances on that shoulder or find another route.
But if it’s that busy of a road and people have limited ability to pass you due to traffic they’re definitely going to be annoyed. Doesn’t mean they’re right.
I almost didn’t point it out, since it may well be a distinction without a real difference, but the subtle difference might matter in some cases.
Notably, and just like it sounds one driver above said to the OP, seeing that space as a bike lane wouldn’t surprise me in the least for most drivers. Seeing a rider in the main driving lane with that amount of space that is mostly unused could easily aggravate drivers in our area… ask me how I know
Totally within your rights to ride in the lane. The shoulder looks generous, but as you said, they’re usually full of junk making it not particularly safe to ride in either. I regularly ride in the lane on roads around me, and I’m not shy about riding a foot or so from the white line.
That said, there are roads I will absolutely avoid. Major thorough fares and even some country roads with high speeds and constant traffic. Not sure I have any hard and fast rules – it’s more of a “know it when I see it” kinda thing. Also, I really feel the effects of car exhaust on my lungs after rides with lots of cars around.
My suggestion would be to look for an alternate road that parallels this with less traffic. I recognize sometimes there are pinch-points in the road layout forcing you onto segments like this. In which case just try to get through them as quickly and safely as possible (which may mean riding the shoulder slowly, or time trialing for a mile or 2).
You can ride to the left of the white line, however … you will never win that argument and the cars will win car v bike every time.
As others already said … I would either find a different route or ride in the shoulder
Only slightly tongue-in-cheek, but as a rider who does 10,000 miles of road riding per year, I’d still lay on my horn pretty hard if you were taking the entire roadway with that massive shoulder on the right.
I get it that the shoulder might narrow at times and at those times you’ll need to be in the roadway and possibly taking the whole lane for safety sake, but the rest of the time, please use that shoulder.