Autumn Gear Guide
Find inspiration in our Gear Guide that will keep you out on your bike through wind or rain.Download Now
Shouldn’t most of these be common knowledge by now?
Torklaw, an American law firm specializing in personal injury and wrongful death, recently wrote an article entitled “5 Things Cyclists Do You Didn’t Know are Perfectly Legal.” The article is aimed at drivers who have limited experience sharing the road with people on bikes, basically an “intro to not killing people” for these changing times.
The article overall is great. It’s clear, concise, and lays out the laws that are universally applicable for cyclists in every US state, along with reasons it’s really in everybody’s best interests to follow said laws.
What surprised me right off the bat though, is the first thing cyclists do that “you didn’t know was perfectly legal,” – riding in the roadway. The TorkLaw staff writes about riding in the roadway, “Not only is it legal to ride in the roadway, that’s the only place it is legal to ride,” citing the law which states as much.
This still requires clarification? There are honestly still people who don’t realize it’s legal to ride bikes in the road? Followed by “Leaving the bike lane to use the left turn lane,” the article starts to read like less of a legal instructional guide, and more like a “State of the Union” on just how far we have left to go in achieving universal road safety and tolerance.
The remaining three are improvements. “Riding straight in the right turn lane” and “Riding two abreast in the roadway” are understandably confusing for some drivers as both moves are decidedly illegal for cars. Which simply underscores how important it is to remind people that bikes are not in fact cars, and follow a different (albeit still too-similar) set of laws.
The final, and my personal favorite, is a good-humored reminder for drivers and cyclists: “Filming you while you scream at them.” “Not only are cyclists allowed to wear cameras when they ride,” writes Torklaw, “they’re starting to be encouraged to do so.” Let that be a warning for drivers. If you fail to properly understand the legality of the any of the initial four actions and find yourself screaming at a cyclist for doing something perfectly legal, they can (and likely will) begin filming you. Get ready for the YouTube likes to roll in.
Hilary Angus is the Online Editor at Momentum Mag. @HilaryAngus