Monday, July 20, 2009

Traffic Tip - Riding Near Parked Cars

From time to time we will be posting tips to ride predictably and safely in traffic. For more quick tips we recommend that you visit the well written handouts on the Philadelphia Bicycle Ambassadors website -

Riding Near Parked Cars
Don’t weave in and out of parked cars, because you’ll confuse drivers; ride in a
straight line. Ride at least 4 feet away so you don’t get hit if someone opens their door. On narrow low-moderate speed streets aligning your bike with the right tire track of automobiles is a good rule of thumb.

When riding in bike lanes next to parking orient your bike to the left side of the lane. The minimum bike lane width in Philadelphia is 5 feet wide and normally parked cars are about 1 foot in from the right hand stripe. If you feel unsafe in the bike lane then adjust your road position accordingly, regardless of the left hand stripe of the bike lane.

Always scan behind you for oncoming traffic before changing lanes including bike lanes.


Jon said...

In situation 2 (the one with the bike lane), when do you recommend moving over if you're making a left turn. Maybe turning is a future topic (traffic circles, multi-lane roads such as Walnut St., etc).

Katie VanVliet said...

In making left turns, I will move over to the left side of the left or turning lane whenever there is no traffic coming up behind me. If there is traffic, I suggest crossing the street at the intersection you plan to turn left at, and reorient yourself to go straight with the opposing set of traffic. This is also the best option for streets with trolley tracks in the center lanes, like Girard & Baltimore Avenue