Bicyclists, Motor Vehicles and Sharing the Road

Data Sources: PA Department of Transportation, U.S. Federal Highway Administration, PA Code

Riding With Motor Vehicles:

  • The right side of the road begins where you can ride without increased danger of falls, jolts, or blowouts.  This means that riding on the gravel, sand, or rock/trash laden portion of the road does not constitute an area safe for cyclists.
  • Do not weave in and out of spaces.  Ride in a predictable, straight line in one area of the right lane.
  •  Motor vehicle drivers are responsible for avoiding right-turn incidents by yielding to bicycles moving straight along side the right lane.
  • Riding on a narrow street, cyclists should ride near the edge of the lane so cars from the rear can pass without having to move as far into the other lane.
  • Merge to the middle of the right lane during a narrow road with a blind curve.  This makes you visible earlier to traffic behind you.
  • Helping traffic pass is optimal.  Still, the driver approaching the rear is always required to slow down and follow if it is not possible to pass safely.
  • If you block traffic for more than a short time, the law requires you to pull to the side and let the traffic by.
  • On a road with two or more narrow lanes in your direction, you should ride in the middle of the right lane at all times. You need to send the message to drivers to move to the passing lane to pass you. If you ride all the way to the right, two cars may pass you at the same time, side by side, and squeeze you off the road.

Riding in a Group:

  • Riding two abreast is legal in Pennsylvania and most other states. It is okay on a straight, flat road. There, drivers can see you from behind, and you can usually see or hear them approach.
  • Two abreast bicyclists can occupy a whole lane. On a multi-lane road with light traffic, cars can pass you in the next lane.
  • On a narrow road or with heavier traffic, be courteous! Do not make drivers wait for you. Pull into a single line well before cars reach you.
  • Never ride two abreast on a hilly or winding road. Do not make yourself into a last-moment surprise coming around a curve or over a hilltop.
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