Which Side of the Road?
Rachel asked: I was riding north on the southbound side of the bridge. I feel safer because I can see the cars coming towards me. I got stopped and was told I had to ride on the northbound. What is the law on which side of the road to ride?
Cyclists are operating vehicles and are required to travel in the same direction as other drivers when in the roadway.
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….
s. 316.081 Driving on Right Side of Roadway; Exceptions
(1) Upon all roadways of sufficient width, a vehicle shall be driven upon the right half of the roadway….
There are many reasons for the laws as they are written. It has been well documented that it is much safer to be traveling in the same direction as other traffic. Drivers do not expect to see vehicles coming toward them on the right and do not have as much time to react. Riding against traffic is particularly dangerous at intersections and driveways. Signs and signals may not be visible. Drivers preparing to enter the roadway frequently do not look to the right.
The relative closure rate for a bicyclist traveling at 15 mph and a motor vehicle at 35 mph in the same direction is 20 mph. If traveling in opposite directions, the closure rate is 50 mph.
Even though cyclists on sidewalks are not required to ride in the same direction as roadway traffic , the same hazards (And many others) are present.