Bicycle Commuting 101 – Rules of the Road

Since you now know what gear you need to hit the road for your work commute by bike (found in yesterday’s blog), today we’re going to cover everything you need to know about safely and legally sharing the road with other cyclist, motorists, and pedestrians.

As found on the Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s webpage, the general rules of riding your bike on the road are as follows:

  • Ride at least three feet from the curb or parked vehicles or debris in curb area and in a straight line. Don’t swerve in and out around parked vehicles.
  • Always ride in the same direction as traffic.
  • Sidewalk riding for bicyclists past the learning stage and being closely supervised by adults can be more dangerous than on the road, obeying traffic laws. It is also illegal unless the community has passed an ordinance specifically permitting sidewalk riding. This can be age-restricted, location-restricted or based on the type of property abutting the sidewalk.
  • Obey all traffic laws.
  • Be predictable! Let other users know where you intend to go and maintain an understood course.
The key to riding safely on the roads is to be seen! ┬áIt’s a great idea to wear bright colors to make yourself more visible while on your bike, and clothing and accessories with reflective material are an added bonus!

Finally, a few reminder to motorists:

  • Bicycles are vehicles. They belong on the road.
  • Cyclists need room to get around potholes, sewer grates and other obstructions.
  • Leave at least three feet when passing bicycles, more room at higher speeds.
  • Change lanes to pass any bicycle traveling in a narrow lane.
  • Train yourself to scan for fast moving (it’s hard to tell speed) bicycles and motorcycles in the opposing lane to you when turning left, and scan sidewalks and crosswalks for pedestrians and bicyclists using the sidewalk and crosswalk as a pedestrian. Always scan to your right-side sidewalk before you leave a stop light or stop sign, and to the left- and right-side sidewalks when on a one-way street.