Biking in Traffic
The most dangerous place to find yourself on a bicycle in the city is hugging the side of the road. Maybe you don’t want to slow traffic, or feel it’s polite to give motorists space to pass, but the truth is you’re increasing your chance of a wreck and injury when you ride the edge of the roadway. Claim the lane. Minus any bike lanes, being out in the lane is the safest place to be. And it’s meant for you too.
When given even the slightest of space, vehicles will try to pass you while staying in the lane. This means cars are passing real close to you, which translates to an increased chance of being hit. You can prevent this extra danger by moving out a bit more and taking up a position in the lane. Vehicles will be forced to slow down and wait for a chance to pass you by going into the other lane at a safer distance.
Another benefit of riding in the lane opposed to on the far right is the lack of obstacles. On the side of the road you find more debris that can get flung in your face or cause you to slide. You also need to avoid, or at least be aware of, obstacles such as sewer grates, curbs, trash cans, parked cars, pedestrians, and the like. While out in the lane you can be free of all that hassle.
Get rid of the anxiety of riding a tight line on the side of the road. Move out in the open and claim the lane. You’re more visible, more of a presence, and in far less danger. Sure some people might be annoyed that your taking up the lane, but that’s just another reason to do it, right? The more cyclists claiming the lane, the more familiar motorists become with it. And what is first but endured will surely one day be embraced.