Lane Position at Intersections


Sondra asked:  What would be the proper position for a cyclist when she approaches traffic on a busy street?  Can she continue on the right edge (and pass the automobiles) until she reaches the intersection and go ahead if the signal permits?


Although the laws seem to permit passing on the right if there is room for two lines of traffic, along with other conditions, it usually isn’t recommended at intersections. You can set yourself up for a right hook at the intersection.

You should determine the safest time to leave the right side of the roadway and position yourself in the travel lane.  In that position you are more visible and motorists are not encouraged to try to pass.  Drivers should move as far to the right on the roadway as is practicable to prepare for the right turn, as is required by the statutes.

Although it isn’t specified in the statutes, since the preponderance of crashes occur at intersections and a number of statutes are directed at drivers entering intersections, an intersection would seem to be one of the “any unsafe conditions” that allow cyclists to leave the right side of the roadway.  One example is:

s. 316.183 – Special Hazards

The fact that the speed of a vehicle is lower than the prescribed limits shall not relieve the driver from the duty to decrease speed when approaching and crossing an intersection …. and speed shall be decreased as may be necessary to avoid colliding with any person, vehicle or other conveyance ….

After you fall in behind other traffic entering the intersection and move through the intersection past the danger point of right-turning vehicles, you can then return to the right side of the roadway if it is otherwise appropriate.

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