Riding on the edge

Why is this guy in my way?  Road shoulders are useful to bicyclists traveling on roads that do not have dedicated bike lanes. However, cyclists are NOT required to ride in a shoulder.  Debris often collects in a road’s shoulder, and a cyclist will avoid these hazards by riding in the lane of vehicular traffic.

Normally, slower traffic keeps to the right, and faster traffic passes on the left.  Since cyclists are usually slower than other traffic, they ride near the edge of the road.  Generally, the usable width of the road begins where one can ride without increased danger of falls, jolts or blowouts.  A road may have a gravel shoulder; it’s edge may be covered with sand or trash or the pavement may be broken.  Would you drive your car in this mess? Most vehicle owners would not, they would swerve around it if needed. Keep in mind shoulders are optional use for cyclists and should never be considered safe.

Some shoulders are too narrow to safely ride in and invite dangerously close passing at high rates of speed from motorists.  Shoulders are not intended to be driven on and are made of a lower quality paving material than the travel lane.  This material quickly erodes and creates unsafe surfaces to cycle on.  Think of shoulders as sidewalks; they are optional and if you feel safer there, then you are allowed to be there. If you do not feel safe there, you are NOT required to ride there. The travel lane belongs to all vehicles, including bicyclists. Remember, the bicyclist usually cannot hear you coming due to the wind rushing through their helmet.  A friendly toot of the horn will alert the bicyclist and allow him or her to move over into the shoulder safely to allow the motorist to pass.

What it really comes down to, is safety first and share the road as safely as possible for everyone traveling.

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