Christine asked: Are bicyclists supposed to ride in the same direction as auto traffic while in bike lanes, especially those with arrows pointing in that direction painted on the ground within the bike lanes? If a cyclist is injured because a car pulls out of a side street in front of them, say making a right-hand turn and the car driver didn’t see the cyclist coming up the bike lane on the wrong side of the road, would the driver be held 100% liable for the accident? This has nearly happened to me a couple of times, not because I don’t look right first, but I look right, then left, then right again as I proceed to make my right turn, and as happens a lot where I live and travel, there’s lots of parked cars blocking the view and the cyclists come flying up from the right and are then fighting mad and giving me one finger salutes, yelling curses etc, like I have broken a law by nearly hitting them. I think they should be riding on the other side of the road in the other bike lane with the arrows pointing the direction they are going. Am I right or wrong? I also ride my bike a lot and would like to know for myself. Obviously, I don’t ever want to hit a bike rider, or be hit myself.
Bicyclists are operating vehicles and have the same rights and duties as other drivers, with few exceptions. One of the most basic duties is driving on the right side when in the roadway. A bike lane is part of the roadway and the arrows demonstrate what the law says.
Bicyclists may also use an unmarked paved shoulder or sidewalk and may ride in either direction.
Riding against traffic is unlawful in the roadway, including a bike lane, and dangerous in all cases for a lot of reasons, but primarily because drivers entering the roadway are not expecting a vehicle coming from the right and seldom look in that direction.
You will have to ask an attorney about the potential liability resulting from unlawful acts.
See the posts about “Bike Lanes” and “Rights and Duties” on this site for the actual laws related to the above and more information.