Bike Lane Etiquette Tips from the Lovely Bicycle Blog

Came across some excellent tips on riding in the bike lane over at Lovely Bike – great pictures and examples of how to turn, yield to traffic and/or pedestrians and approach intersections.  Along with all the great tips, she suggests politely informing other cyclists when they are incorrectly passing on the left,  riding against traffic  or violating any other traffic rule that jeopardizes your safety and the safety of other riders. While I’m inclined to derisively shout “You’re riding the wrong way you idiot” to someone riding like a salmon against the current as they head towards me in a bike lane, I’m sure a  less inflammatory statement would be more effective.

In Chicago there are laws already on the books that govern how bikes and cars must operate when sharing the road with or without bike lanes:

9-40-060- Driving, standing or parking on bicycle paths or lanes prohibited

The driver of a vehicle shall not drive, unless entering or exiting a legal parking space, or stand, or park the vehicle upon any on street path or lane designated by official signs or markings for the use of bicycles, or otherwise drive or place the vehicle in such a manner as to impede bicycle traffic on such path or lane. The driver of a vehicle shall not stand or park the vehicle upon any lane designated by pavement markings for the shared use of motor vehicles and bicycles, or place the vehicle in such a manner as to impede bicycle traffic on such lane. In addition to the fine provided in Section 9-4-025 of this Code, any vehicle parked in violation of this section shall be subject to an immediate tow and removal to a city vehicle pound or authorized garage.

9-16-020 (f) Turning right in front of a bicycle

When a motor vehicle and a bicycle are traveling in the same direction on any highway, street, or road, the operator of the motor vehicle overtaking such bicycle traveling on the right side of the roadway shall not turn to the right in front of the bicycle at that intersection or at any alley or driveway until such vehicle has overtaken and is safely clear of the bicycle.

9-36-010 (c) Overtaking on the left

The operator of a motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle or individual proceeding in the same direction on a highway shall leave a safe distance, but not less than 3 feet, when passing the bicycle or individual and shall maintain that distance until safely past the overtaken bicycle or individual.

9-16-020 (e) Right of way to a bicycle on Left Turn

The driver of a vehicle within an intersection intending to turn to the left shall yield the right-of-way to a bicycle approaching from the opposite direction which is within the intersection or so close thereto as to constitute an immediate hazard.

If you’re interested in all the bike-related laws in the Chicago Municipal code click on over to the Chicagobikes.org website – they have a very handy summary of bike-related laws with links to the full descriptions if you like to read legalese.

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