IMPORTANT: Please post comments for this article at the new CYCLELICIOUS 2.0 version of this page.
I don't think this is a good idea. It further divides drivers and cyclists and isn't a clear representation of the law. In most states, it gives you that option IF the road is too narrow--but not as a general rule.
Either way, common courtesy between drivers and cyclists is what I'd like to see... not some campaign about a rule that already annoys drivers. Just cause they know the rule doesn't mean they'll appreciate cyclists any more.
But no, anonymous is totally right. Putting a roadsign on your car is *so* confrontational! We should all just ride on the sidewalk where we believe and let the cars use the public space they so rightfully bought with lobbyist money.
Rules don't annoy drivers. Bikes do. At least that's true of drivers prone to be annoyed. Many of them operate on the "might makes right" principle. You have the right...now try to claim it.
I used to claim the lane long before I knew a rule or law supported me. I did it the way small humans have herded larger beasts for thousands of years. You use your judgment to know when to get in the way and when to get out of the way. Realize that you won't turn the herd every time.
Knowing and publicizing the law might help with the drivers who will give way once they know they have to. But there will still be holdouts from the old way, and drivers in a hurry who try to push a point "just this once" again and again.
Today, if I had been texting or otherwise distracted, I could have easily hit a bicyclist riding in the middle of the lane, on a 2 lane road, next to his buddy. He was doing maybe 10 mph, I was doing 45. He might have been in the right, but he would have been dead if I wasn't paying attention. I respect bikes riding single file, but I get annoyed when they ride side by side, blocking the road. They should be cited for blocking traffic. Why bicyclists think this is safe is beyond me.
"Today, if I had been texting or otherwise distracted, I could have easily hit a bicyclist riding in the middle of the lane, on a 2 lane road, next to his buddy. He was doing maybe 10 mph, I was doing 45. He might have been in the right, but he would have been dead if I wasn't paying attention. I respect bikes riding single file, but I get annoyed when they ride side by side, blocking the road. They should be cited for blocking traffic. Why bicyclists think this is safe is beyond me.
This is an example of the "might makes right" theory: You may be right but my car is bigger. Also, why would anyone in their right mind be texting while speeding down a two-lane road? How about drifting across the center line into oncoming motor vehicles? Or drifting to the right and nailing the cyclist riding next to the ditch?
I do believe many cyclists show poor judgment when riding two abreast. Some of them are friends of mine. Since I can't change them, I will enjoy their company until some careless or vindictive bastard mows them down. But bad drivers can strike the legal and cautious as well.
It isn't necessarily that "might makes right". I'm guessing most car/bicycle accidents occur because one or both are not paying attention. In today's world that happens far too often. Why increase your chances of getting killed by riding so slow in the middle of the lane? Just sounds silly to me. You might be within the law, but you'll be dead. And as for the argument that a distracted driver would hit a bicyclist on the side of the road, come on, which do you think is more likely to get hit, someone on the side, or someone in the middle. It's all a matter of how much risk you want to assume, and riding in the middle of the road at 10 mph is too much risk for me. And this is coming from someone who has no problem doing 160 mph on a motorcycle at the track.
Anon, the driver I was behind this morning (in my car) was two wheels onto the shoulder and then two wheels over the center line, repeatedly. I saw an SUV tonight halfway across the center line coming at me as well. People basically drive like crap. That's why 160 mph in a closed environment on the track is vastly safer than a trip to the corner store.
Bicyclists are out there essentially naked. To be completely safe we should stay home in our fenced yard with a variety of defensive weapons close at hand.
Instead we keep plugging away at things that seem like they might be helpful and keep our spirits up with the world we imagine we can create.