Rules of the Road
With all the controversy surrounding the hike and bike plan and our recent elections, you may have been hearing many people say that “the mixing of cars and bicycles is unsafe” (especially with drunk drivers on the road) or that parks or even sidewalks are an appropriate place to ride a bicycle. You may question those notions, as someone who rides on streets. Or you may share those sentiments, as someone who may not feel comfortable riding on the street.
Well, our roads were made for bikes (learn more about the Good Roads Movement, in which cyclists helped lead the way to having paved roads in the first place) as well as cars.
There are rules of the road that car drivers and bike riders must follow so that we can all safely and comfortably get to where we need to go. And they’re pretty simple:
- ride in the same direction of traffic
- follow traffic laws – that means stopping at lights and stop signs
- ride to the right, unless:
- passing another vehicle
- preparing to turn left
- avoiding some obstacle in the road
- the right-most lane is less than 14′ and has no adjacent bike lane, then take the lane
- the road is too narrow for a cyclist and car to safely ride side-by-side, then take the lane
- it’s a one-way street with more than 2 lanes (such as the Center/Mesquite couplet), in which case you may ride in the left or right lane
- have a brake
- have a front, white light when riding at night
- have a rear, red light or reflector when riding at night
- signal when:
- turning right: put your left arm up at a 90 degree angle or put your right arm straight out
- turning left: put your left arm straight out
- stopping: put your left arm down at a 90 degree angle
- wear a helmet, if under 18 years old (Arlington specific)
Arlington traffic regulations (PDF) are not explicit about sidewalks, but they do say that “no person shall operate or use a bicycle or motor vehicle…on a trail or path not designated for use by such vehicle,” and we could assume that sidewalks are not designated for use by bicycles.