How to Treat a Cyclist on the Road


Roselyn asked: I am a driver. I drive to work in the right lane because I must turn right soon, and there is a marked white line made for bicycles to the right of me. I passed right by the bicycle to my right, but I felt unsure. I have never experienced a marked bicycle lane in which a car can drive next to it. I am a relatively new driver. So, was this correct, that I can ride alongside the bicycle? It seems scary, like the bike could come out of his lane and then I would be in trouble! I do not know what to do to be safe when there is a marked bicycle lane. Can you please help? In what cases do I not ride alongside the bicycle, and in what cases do I? I do not feel clear about what the driver rules are for a bicycle. I did not study that well when I got my license. So, I do not really know the bicycle/car rules, of what a driver should do upon approaching a bicycle on the road, whether there is a line marked for bicycle or no line marked, what do I do?


Bicycles are vehicles and their operators have the same rights and duties as other drivers on the road.

s. 316.2065Bicycle Regulations

(1) Every person propelling a vehicle by human power has all of the rights and all of the duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle ….

A bicycle lane, when marked as such, is another lane and is for the preferential use by cyclists. In some circumstances, a bicyclist is required to use a bike lane. If not marked as a bike lane, it is a paved shoulder and bicyclists are not required to use it but may do so.

Other drivers should simply treat the bicyclist in a bike lane as another driver in an adjacent lane, and are required to remain at least three feet from the bicyclist.

s. 316.083Overtaking and Passing a Vehicle

(1) The driver of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle proceeding in the same direction …. shall pass to the left thereof at a safe distance, and shall not again drive to the right side of the roadway until safely clear of the overtaken vehicle. The driver of a vehicle overtaking a bicycle or other nonmotorized vehicle must pass the bicycle or other nonmotorized vehicle at a safe distance of not less than 3 feet between the vehicle and the bicycle or other nonmotorized vehicle.

Normally, a motorist should remain out of the bike lane, but when turning right, obviously the motorist must cross the bike lane. This post applies.

Other posts on this site will answer more specific questions.

3 Comments on “How to Treat a Cyclist on the Road

  1. remember, the SOLID white line means ‘barrier/fence/etc- if you hit someone crossing the solid line its YOUR FAULT -it could be even be man slaughter- all crossing of white lines is only at broken – – – – line.

  2. if you pass a cyclist on the road and signal when you are reasonably ahead of the cyclist that you are in fact, turning right across the bicycle lane/path, the cyclist must slow to allow the driver to complete the turn, whether there is a solid white line or not. on nearly ALL bike lanes, there is no dotted line at driveway entrances. this broken white line the idiot referred to is usually, only found at a lane change, such as an upcoming right hand turn lane and the dotted line is never long enough for drivers to move into within reasonable safety for all. one in particular, SR 54 going east and approaching SR 581. the broken line for automobiles to turn into is way before the turn, but, it is impossible to turn into the lane unless you were to stop in the road, creating a huge hazard, then, move into the lane. riding beside bicycles is not a problem on most newer roads with bike lanes, as both vehicles , as long as they are in there own lane, are more than three feet away from each other. i have seen cyclists, purposely move closer to a vehicle, just to create issues. a lot of cyclists out there are mean and manipulative, purposely provoking instances. DO NOT BE INTIMIDATED BY BICYCLISTS

  3. if your talking intimidation try riding a 20 lb road bike and when a right turn comes up the 3000 lb motor vehicle turns into your bike .. running you over
    if i see a bicycle on my right in a bike lane and we both are coming to the right turn , if your car and bike arrive at the same time wait for the bike to pass if my rite turn is a tractor trailer length away and the bike is far enough that i could make the turn then turn but if i see a bike and he is ahead of me and i race by the bicyclist and have to cut the bike off then i am wrong ..

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