I have a dream for the future of bicycle transportation

Lane control, no parking
Screen shot from video Geoff McMillion shot in Missoula.

I see a future where bicyclists are seen as first class road users, with the same rights and duties (as far as the rules of the road are concerned) as drivers of vehicles . In fact, I see a future where bicyclists who are traveling slower than other traffic are seen as drivers with the same right to use lanes as other drivers.

That doesn’t mean that bicycles and cars are equal, no more than cars and trucks are equal. What I mean is that the people who operate them follow the same rules of the road. For instance, in almost every state, all drivers who are traveling slower than other traffic, regardless of what vehicle they are driving, are required to use the right-hand lane. There is no such rule in those states as “If you can’t keep up, you have to stay at the right edge of the right-hand lane.” (This is not true in Europe.)

I see a future where bicyclists who are traveling at less than the speed of other traffic can use the right-hand lane, turning out occasionally where it is safe to let faster drivers pass, just like other drivers. And bicyclists who are traveling at the same speed as other traffic can use any lane, just like other drivers.

I see a future where a bicyclist using a full lane is seen as normal and reasonable, even if the bicyclist is going slower than other traffic.

I see a future where bicyclists would no longer be afraid of being intimidated, threatened, bullied, buzzed, yelled at, had things thrown at them, forced off the road, accused of being rude and cited for riding in travel lanes. And without these fears, more people would ride bicycles on the public streets and highways.

For more information, see The Marginalization of Bicyclists – How the car lane paradigm eroded our lane rights and what we can do to restore them


3 thoughts on “I have a dream for the future of bicycle transportation”

  1. Hi Bob. Great article.

    Being as I’m a European myself, I noticed the “This is not true in Europe” bit. As far as I’m aware, each European nation has different rules governing a close-to-the-curb lane position for slower-moving vehicles. Some may have such rules, but some don’t.

    For example, according to the UK’s Highway Code, the UK has no such rule. All vehicles (including cyclists) in the UK may take any position in the lane no matter what speed other traffic is moving. There is a rule for all slow-moving vehicles to allow faster traffic to pass when possible, but it does not mention lane position.

    So maybe “this is not ALWAYS true in Europe” would be more correct.

  2. My reading of the UK Highway Code tells me that drivers are generally required to “keep to the left” and it is only on two-lane dual carriageways (what we call multilane divided highways) that slower drivers are allowed to use the left-hand lane instead of keeping to the left:

    Once moving you should
    * keep to the left, unless road signs or markings indicate otherwise. The exceptions are when you want to overtake, turn right or pass parked vehicles or pedestrians in the road

    On a two-lane dual carriageway you should stay in the left-hand lane. Use the right-hand lane for overtaking or turning right. After overtaking, move back to the left-hand lane when it is safe to do so.

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