Bicycle Rules of the Road FAQs
most important rule of the road for cyclists is: Be Visible. Be predictable. Of course being visible means that you wear high visibility clothing in the day time and use lights at night. Being predictable means that you follow the rules of the road so that everyone knows what your are going to do.
It is technically illegal to ride on the sidewalk, unless you're under thirteen years of age. This is a common question, especially in Atlanta where bike facilities are few. The dilemma here is that while riding in the street certainly has its dangers, so too does riding on the sidewalk. On the sidewalk, you not only have to negotiate curbs, root damage, and other sidewalk users, but you’re also vulnerable to drivers entering and exiting side streets who are not expecting to see traffic (you) on the sidewalk. If you do choose to ride on the sidewalk, you must be aware of the inherent dangers there. (Read our article about City Biking)City of Atlanta Sidewalk Code
Always ride on the right hand side of the road! Many of us were taught when we were young to ride against traffic. However, riding against traffic on the left hand side of the road is extremely dangerous! Besides the possibility of hitting another cyclist head on, who is riding with traffic, the risk of being hit by a car increases exponentially because drivers are not expecting to see traffic (you) on the left side of the road, especially coming through intersections.
Riding two abreast is not only legal, but in some circumstances, it's actually safer than riding single file. For example, on a four lane road (with two lanes on each side) where the lanes are narrow, it's better to take the lane by riding two abreast. It forces the cars behind you to move into the other lane to pass you. This technique prevents that tight squeeze pass. In any case, be thoughtful, be courteous, and use your common sense as to when to ride abreast.
The best way to avoid right hand turning cars is to take the lane before you get to the intersection. This technique prevents a car from passing you and then turning right in front of you. It can be a scary move, especially since most drivers will not see the wisdom nor purpose for it, but it is the safest way to negotiate this hazard.
Courtesies are always appreciated by cyclist. However, it's best to take, rather than yield, the right of way when it is yours. Both the cyclists, and other drivers that may be present, expect you to take it. Doing otherwise introduces confusion in the situation.
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Have a question about the world of bicycles? Whether it regards product information, technical issues, or riding the streets of Atlanta all you have to do is ask bicycle expert Mike Goodman, Intown Bicycles owner with over 30 years of experience in the industry.