As the weather warms and clouds dry up, bicycles become more common on roads and pathways. If you’re confused about how to ride your bike on the road, or how to ride with a bike on the road, here’s a handy guide. One rule of thumb that applies to everyone is, pretend the bike is a car.When you’re riding your bike on the road:
- When you’re riding on the road, you have the all same rights as vehicles — and the same responsibilities. You can be injured and/or ticketed if you don’t follow the rules.
- Ride in the same direction of lane traffic.
- Follow traffic rules and signs.
- Use turn signals.
- If you’re holding up traffic, pull over and let vehicles pass.
- If there’s a bike lane available, use it.
- If no bike lane is available, ride where it is safest in your lane. Most often this is the far right side of the right road lane, but make adjustments for debris or potholes.
- A white headlight and red tail light or reflector is required for night riding in Lewiston, Clarkston, Moscow and Pullman.
- Ride defensively and try to be consistent and predictable for others on the road.
- If you don’t feel safe on the road, you may ride on the sidewalk, unless signs posted say otherwise, for example in downtown areas with high foot traffic. Just remember that pedestrians have the right of way.
- Helmets aren’t required by law in Washington or Idaho, but studies show they save lives and area police departments recommend them.
When you’re driving with a bike on the road:
- Pay attention while driving and keep an eye out for cyclists.
- Remember that bicyclists have the same right to the road that you do.
- If a bike is on the road, follow the same traffic rules you would if the bike were a car.
- Don’t give a cyclist right-of-way at an intersection as required for pedestrians. This can be confusing and unsafe for the cyclist.
- It’s OK to pass a bike, but give the bike plenty of space. You will likely have to leave your lane.