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. 316.2065 – Bicycle 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. 316.083 – Overtaking 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.