Bicyclists May Use Full Lane

A clear explanation of “Bicyclists May Use Full Lane”. Can drivers be educated?

On a personal level, as a recreational and commuting road cyclist, my life is endangered numerous times every time I ride by motorists who assert what they think is their “right” to the road. Sometimes it’s outright aggressive behavior, and sometimes it’s in the form of inattentive entitlement, like rolling though stop signs and turning right on red without a pause. Drivers yell that I should get off the road, even though I have made eye contact and acknowledged drivers near me, and I’m riding in a courteous and careful manner. The reaction by many bicyclists is to move as far to the right as possible to allow drivers to pass.  But hugging the line or riding in the shoulder (gutter) only reinforces the belief of any drivers passing people on bikes that they inherently deserve the entire lane, and puts bicyclists in danger of having to swerve around debris, and potentially ending up in the path of a vehicle.  Can drivers be educated in this car-centric culture?

Bicyclists May Use Full Lane

Carlton ReidOct 12, 2018

“The simple answer to why cyclists ride in the middle of “traffic lanes” is because they are allowed and advised to take such actions.”


Some motorists think roads were built for cars, and that people on bicycles are interlopers. Historically and legally, this is not the case: most global jurisdictions enshrine the right of bicyclists to enjoy the public highway – that is, to enjoy it in law if not always in reality. International traffic treaties also guarantee this basic right. Some bicycle advocates like to remind motorists that they and their motor vehicles are allowed on the road only under license while cyclists are allowed on the road by right.

As evidenced by the 2009 Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, U.S. bicyclists “may use [the] full lane,” but this doesn’t stop some motorists shouting that cyclists do not belong on roads.

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