Take The Lane!

Tim Grahl at Commute By Bike gives us one of the best list of reasons for taking the lane - or riding in the middle of the lane - that I've seen yet. Read it and try it.

Doing this site, I've gotten a lot of folks asking me for tips on riding the road - I tell them two things, usually, which are related:
  1. Take the lane
  2. Stop caring if you're holding up traffic.
Cyclists have every right to ride the road and to expect to be safe while they're doing it. And taking the lane is one of the best ways to do it.

People, not speed.


  1. I've been pulled over by Columbus Police for taking the lane. Has this happened to anyone else you know of? I would really like to get the mayors attention about this. If he's going to call himself a cycling advocate, he probably would be willing to train his people a little bit on the laws about cycling. If you or anyone you know would care to sign my letters to him, please let me know.

  2. I have been riding with a youngster who is new to road riding. He keeps pulling over to give vehicles the lane, and got squeezed a couple of times. He is learning to take the lane.

  3. As someone who rides a bike regularly, as well as drives a car, I would like to see all bike riders obey traffic laws such as stop signs and traffic lights. This is a huge problem, especially around osu campus.

  4. Forget "take the lane", rather control/use the lane. Generally cyclists "share" the lane if is safe a another vehicle to pass. When it not unsafe to share, control the lane and discourage another vehicle by lane positioning and body signaling.

    "that1uhate" have you ever taken a bicycle safety class? Road 1? It might help you educate law enforcement and protect yourself.

    Here is what lane control is about: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6yp32rEpecQ

  5. danc - I think it's two names for the same thing. Take/Control the lane when it's unsafe to do otherwise. That includes inclement weather, poor road conditions, coming to a stop/turn, etc.

  6. When I take the lane I'm usually about where the right tire of a car would be, unless it's a narrow street. I noticed I've been having the tendency to be just to the right of the middle of any given lane. One question though; what do you do on wide-ass streets? Sometimes it's just wide with no parking or it's wide and there's parking, but it's not being utilized. I have no problem calming traffic, but at the same time I don't want to go out of my way to piss off drivers.

  7. Columbusite - my general answer there is that I take the lane at times when I feel I can best resolve a situation before it happens. That's why I take it when I'm near corners, near lots of cars parked, etc.

    Now, if it's a wide lane, and there's more room to maneuver, then no, you don't need to take the lane. There's plenty of room for you and a car.

    However, I draw the line at riding in the parking lane. That's for parking, not for driving OR riding. And you can get into trouble weaving in and out of parking lanes by not being predictable.

    Anonymous - I don't see this as a huge problem around OSU campus. If you travel with the assumption that cars get first priority, then yes, it might be a problem. But if you travel with the assumption that cars and bikes BOTH have equal rights to the road, then I think you'll see things different. I don't think bikes run red lights, etc. any more or less than cars do. And in my book, performing a rolling stop is the same as running a red light or stop sign.

  8. Hey I just started to read your blog... you do a fantastic job, btw! Anyway, just wanted to let you know that I just read a post where you talked about wearing helmets and such and I wanted to share this... my cousin, who was five at the time, was riding her bike (with parents watching) on her not busy street... someone came flying through going too fast for her to move and he hit her, and the helmet was completely smashed, but she was ok. Well, she was in the hospital for a while, but if not for her helmet, she would have died.


Post a Comment