We have all seen them. We have maybe uttered a few choice words about them. We have maybe driven just a little too close to them. And, we all have asked the question “Why are you cycling in the middle of the road?” Unless, of course, you’re a cyclist.
I understand the frustration and anger. My husband’s head nearly explodes when he sees a lycra-clad person on two wheels straying out into the double yellow and inhibiting his route for 10-20 seconds. That is precisely why I feel the need to tell you some reasons we may be there. It’s really the least I can do for my fellow cyclists.
Just to be clear, I am speaking of the cyclist who is otherwise following the rules and doesn’t think he’s above them. I would never speak for the turd in a skin tight kit, operating a $10,000 bike made from air, who thinks he owns the road. Nope, not him. He is just a douche and I’m not sure what’s happening there. Feel fee to sound your horn, flip the bird and yell obscenities.
For everyone else, I offer four very legitimate reasons for cycling over the white line:
1. Flat Tires
I know all of you drivers think that white line was made for runners and cyclists and anyone else who is on the road moving under 30 miles an hour. What you don’t know perhaps, because you have not seen the other side of the white line, is all the debris inside that line! It’s a veritable junk yard of nastiness with glass, metal scraps, acorns, nails, and sand.
I ride to avoid flat tires at all costs and, riding into a glass and metal scrap yard, is not the way to stay flat free. When the inside lane is clear, I take full advantage and ride on the inside. In fact, I will even chose routes where I know the lanes are clearer than others but, when I have the choice between riding into the road or into glass, guess where I’ll be?
2. Pot Holes, Cracks and Otherwise Wrecked Road Conditions
You have no idea how many obscenities I utter when I’m forced into a pock marked piece of asphalt with ruts and ridges. Two words people – – lady parts. Going 20+ miles per hour and then hitting a patch of rough road where your bike is bouncing in all the wrong places, your tires are getting the business and your helmet is sliding down your head, is not enjoyable. I do my best to check behind me when I see rough road ahead, so I can safely move into the road, but I will avoid the bumps at all costs. Ok, maybe not death but, you get the point.
3. Blind Driveways and Roads
Here’s the thing, when a car comes speeding out of their driveway or a side road, they could kill me. I tend to be extra cautious on some of my routes that have a lot of these blind spots and, since I value my life, I swing out into the road to give myself a fighting chance if a driver comes screaming out, unexpectedly.
Once I pass the blind drive and/or roadway I immediately get back to the side of the road.
It seems to come as an utter shock to some drivers but, when I need to make a left at a stoplight or stop sign I can be in the turning lane with the rest of the cars. Yes, I can! Just back off and let me be on my way. Trust me, I want to get out from in between cars as quickly and as safely as possible.
[Tweet “4 Legit Reasons for #Cyclists in the Middle of the Road! #sharetheroad”]
With all of that being said, I want it known that I am a very cautious cyclist. I never take risks out there because I know how easily I could be run over by a driver who is either distracted or just doesn’t see me. I write this so we can share the road and avoid any more senseless deaths or ruined lives because of a few seconds. Be patient. Be kind. Be careful.
Oh, and don’t be a douche…
Do cyclists in the middle of the road annoy you?
Are you one of them?
Did I leave out any other good reason?
You have very valid points! There’s been a battle in one of our local towns between cyclists and the town. It seems like a daily occurrence there’s road rage with a cyclist. So much that most riders wear GoPro’s to record their whole ride for proof of the harassment. I really don’t get it. Is that 15-20 seconds really going to matter where you’re going? I love the jersey – more cyclists (and runners!) should wear that!
Seriously? In “free to be you and me” New Hampshire? That is appalling. I seriously do not get why drivers hate cyclists so much. I mean, I get it but I don’t GET IT. There are just so many other things people!
I see the benefits to both sides. I think it’s so important for drivers to realize that cyclists and runners need to be safe too. If people slowed down a little bit on daily work commutes and left a few minutes earlier, you wouldn’t see nearly as much erratic driving. I get terrified when a cyclist is in the middle of the road but honestly, I go around them and don’t think about it much more.
Trust me, it’s terrifying to BE in the middle of the road but sometimes we don’t have a choice. Thanks Hollie. 🙂 Have a great weekend!
Then dont ride there! Thus is your “hobby”, you dont NEED to be riding bike in congested areas. im 35, back in MY day everyone used the SIDEWALK or went to the dang park to ride bike. Period. Now you hipsters want to be acting like youre in acar and hog up the road. happened today in a 1 way road where i couldnt pass them without risking oncoming traffic. yall seem to want Darwin awards too, bc why would anyone even WANT to ride bike in the middle of the road and in congested areas? stop being stupid and ride the SIDEWALK in non congested areas or go to a PARK with bike trails.
Oh you are too funny. Bless your heart.
funny is when u stupid ppl get run over. THATS funny.
If you’re going to laugh about killing cyclists you should at least spell correctly and use proper grammar. I mean, since you’re not the stupid one in this scenario.
Im not laughing about killing “cyclists” (aka an idiot with a hobby) I laugh at you idiots killing YOURSELVES by behaving like a car and having the inevitable accident. Darwin award at its finest.
There’s a “bike path” along one of the really busy roads I need to ride along to get to my trails. The path is in horrible shape and my road bike and body don’t really care for all the jarring. Motorists get mad at me for riding on the road but come on man! If you are going to have a bike lane, path, what have you, then maintain it. And don’t get me started about the left turn lane. Motorists want us to follow the rules of the road, but when we do they don’t like it.
We can’t win! Waaaaaaah!
SO true!! I know there are some bike paths in the “city” of Hartford but they don’t maintain them as well as they need to. If you’re not out there on a bike, you just don’t get it. I know you do and I feel your pain!!
Such a greatly important post. I live in a city with a ton of cyclists and read about accidents daily. Here’s the thing. If you’re on a bike you’re in danger, and a car or truck is always gonna win. Heck even a pedestrian will win because if you both go down typically the one on the bike gets banged up. Not every time but you know what I mean. Anyhow I happen to prefer driving 30-45 minutes outs of the city and ride on country roads where it is much safer. Still risky but nowhere near as dangerous as urban cycling can be. There are plenty of assholes in the country but you can spit them easily. No matter where you cycle you gotta be careful. Yes riding in the middle of the road is absolutely necessary sometimes. When I see cyclists in the city riding in the road I usually don’t mind. Unless they’re the ones being assholes. We have plenty asshole cyclists! But I like to stay far away and give them their space. If I’m in a car and you’re on a bike there is just no competition. Let’s all share the road and chill the EFF out. Happy Friday Ali!!
Yes – totally!! I ride mostly on country roads but, guess what people – you have to ride on the busy roads to get to the country ones!!! Ugh. It’s a battle.
Thanks Danielle and have a great weekend snuggling with your little 🙂
I completely get it! After all I used to be one of those on a bike…before I could own a car 😉
I’m so cautious now that I’ll actually drive slow behind them to protect the backside, speed up in front to lead the way, slow down again, speed up, slow down. I do this for their entire ride!
I’m actually doing this as I post right now
~ your ever caring, humanity centric, civic minded husband
You shouldn’t comment and drive. You could kill a cyclist.
Yes! You don’t get it until you’re a cyclist. My in-laws think cycling on the road should be outlawed, but they had a lot more compassion once they knew it was me out there. It IS frustrating to be slowed down as a driver for what feels like a long time, but it’s definitely not as simple as just riding on the shoulder. Multi-use paths and bike lanes should be everywhere and then we wouldn’t have this problem! Which reminds me – it’s kind of ironic how the people who tend to want cyclists off the road are also the same people who are opposed to increasing taxes for bicycle and pedestrian facilities….ugh
LOL on your in-laws!!! People are so passionate with their hate for cyclists!!
And I couldn’t agree more about the bike lanes. It’s a no-win situation.
They don’t annoy me if they are paying attention to the cars and following the traffic rules. I personally would be petrified to ride a bike in the middle of the street with the crazy drivers in LA, but many people do it.
I don’t think I would ever bike in any major city. I was terrified for the cyclists I saw in San Francisco however, the cyclists in New York kind of make pedestrians fear for their lives. I’m all about Uber in the city 🙂
This was really good for me to read. I’ve never been a cyclist before, really. I mean, I rode a bike from time to time for fun, kinda, when I was injured, but barely. We have a lot of bike paths around here but they’re disjointed and sporadic.
The bike paths usually are which is why so many cyclists are on the road. I know most drivers don’t get why we’re not all the way on the side of the road, which is why I had to write this. It’s funny how everything always comes back to perspective, right?
Have a great weekend Suzy!!
These are definitely totally legit! No one wants to get killed by a car that pulls out of no where. Talk about crappy roads, around here they are often practically falling apart! Great post!
We have a lot of horrible ones out here in the country too. It can get ugly out there!
I never thought about these, but these are legit reasons! Both Valpo (where I lived for 5 years) and the entire East Seattle area have very nice bike lanes that are well-maintained and as smooth and clean as the road, but I’ve always thought about how difficult it must be to turn left out of them. Especially with all the passive aggressive Washington drivers. We have tons of nice multi-use paths as well that go from the city to the big tech companies. Great post!
Most drivers/non-cyclists don’t think or know about it at all and, why would they? It’s a whole new world when you’re the one on the bike! I so wish there were more freshly paved roads around here. I’m constantly seeking them out!!
I finally got a road bike and have been spending more time on it. There is a bike path but man they need to maintain it. My lady parts do not enjoy some of the strips. I think that is the hardest part of cycling at the moment, being able to be comfortable for 2 hours at a time!
Yes, for sure! If I take too long of a break, that first ride in the saddle is so uncomfortable!!!
Hi Allie, nice tips! I definitely think it’s a good idea to cycle out more into the middle of the road. I find it helps to stop motorists from trying to overtake in crazy places. Sometimes it can be a little intimidating though, especially when it looks like their head is about to pop off if they’re inconvenienced for a second longer!
Thanks for reading and commenting!
I have seen the near explosion more than once but, it’s safety first, right?
Have a good season…
I can understand why people would cycle in the middle of the road. As long as there aren’t dedicated (and well-maintained) bicycle lanes, it looks like the only reasonable option!
The resistance element of cycling means that it doesn’t just burn fat: it also builds muscle – particularly around the glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves.
I ridE bike to work every day. It is such a good way to keep fit and get close to the city. Every one who cares about our environment should take bike commute into consideration. I totally agreed with your bike commute tips! Thanks for sharing.
Wow this is very useful and interesting piece of article I really enjoy the useful and lovely reading of this article.. Thanks for sharing this article to us
The big problem with driver perception and taking the primary, is when narrow cycle paint lanes are present, especially those that make the existing main lane, just wide enough for motorised traffic.
Drivers expect cyclists to be in them but experienced cyclists often avoid them at times because they often create more dangers