Archived Story

Editorial: Bicyclists need to ride right

Published 10:10am Thursday, September 19, 2013

We see it far too often — a bicycle rider on the left side of the street going against the flow of traffic.

Why? Death wish? Desire to break the law? Ignorance of the law?

Let’s be clear: Bicycles are required to ride on the right side of the road, just like an automobile does. Predictability is a major factor of traffic safety. The more predictable a vehicle is — whether a bus, van, truck, car, motorcycle, scooter, bicycle, skateboard or horse — the easier it is for other users of the road to avoid hitting it.

Only pedestrians may walk against the flow of traffic on the left side, and that’s only if there is no sidewalk present. They walk on the left so they can step off the roadway to give space to oncoming traffic.

We suppose somewhere some bicycle riders either were A. never taught this in school, or B. get the two rules confused.

Here is what the Minnesota law, in Section 169, states about bicycles riding in the same direction as traffic:

“Ride as close as practicable to right-hand curb or edge of roadway, except when passing a vehicle moving in same direction, when preparing to turn left at an intersection or into a private driveway, or when necessary to avoid conditions (such as objects, surfaces, hazards) that make it unsafe to ride close to the right.”

The Tribune indeed is an advocate of bicycling, but some riders do their share of giving the form of travel a bad reputation. Safe cycling is the only way to go. Wear a helmet, be alert and abide by the rules of the road.