With or Against Traffic


Frank asked: Should bike riders ride with or against the traffic I have had a lot of close calls as the riders don’t stop for signs and I don’t expect the bikes going in the wrong direction.


Bicyclists and motorists frequently do not stop for stop signs.  Both are violating the law.

Bicyclists are operating vehicles and, with few exceptions, have the same rights and duties as other drivers. One of those is driving on the right side of the roadway. A bike lane is part of the roadway.

s. 316.081Driving 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.

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

(5)(a) Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall ride in the lane marked for bicycle use or, if no lane is marked for bicycle use, as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except under any of the following situations:

  1. When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction.
  2. When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.
  3. When reasonably necessary to avoid any condition or potential conflict, including, but not limited to, a fixed or moving object, parked or moving vehicle, bicycle, pedestrian, animal, surface hazard, turn lane, or substandard-width lane, which makes it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge or within a bicycle lane. For the purposes of this subsection, a “substandard-width lane” is a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and another vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.

(b) Any person operating a bicycle upon a one-way highway with two or more marked traffic lanes may ride as near the left-hand curb or edge of such roadway as practicable

5 Comments on “With or Against Traffic

  1. Most of the cyclists I’ve seen riding in the direction opposite that of adjacent roadway traffic were riding on sidewalks or road shoulders (i.e., outside the white edge lines marked on higher-volume roads to indicate the edge of the roadway). Florida’s road rules don’t prohibit this, even though riding against traffic does tend to result in awkward conflicts at driveways and side streets (because motorists don’t expect traffic coming from the “wrong” direction).

    On the roadway, including bike lanes, riding against traffic is illegal, as explained in Geo’s reply.

  2. “On the roadway”, does this also include the sidewalk? As is a person riding the bike against traffic runs into the car pulling out of a shopping plaza. Who would be at fault? The driver of the car isn’t looking for a bicylist moving at a good pace on the side walk riding against traffic.

    • Depends on the state. Here a sidewalk is “a portion of the roadway set aside for those who are afoot.” Since it is part of the roadway, then the road rules apply. In other states, it is defined as adjacent to the roadway.

  3. Russell,

    I don’t know where you are but these are the Florida Definitions.

    s. 316 003 – Definitions

    (a) The entire width between the boundary lines of every way or place of whatever nature when any part thereof is open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular traffic

    (64) ROADWAY – That portion of a highway improved, designed, or ordinarily used for vehicular travel, exclusive of the berm or shoulder.

    (70) SIDEWALK – That portion of a street between the curbline, or the lateral line, of a roadway and the adjacent property lines, intended for use by pedestrians.

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