Enhancing Bicycle Safety:
Law Enforcement's Role
Section Three: Applying Traffic Laws to Cyclists
Bicycling and the Traffic Law

Narrow Lanes

There are other reasons that it may be unsafe for bicyclists to keep to the far right of the lane. One of these is when a lane is narrow, particularly on a multi-lane road (a road with more than one lane serving each direction of travel).

Question: Why might it be dangerous for a cyclist to hug the curb when riding in a narrow lane?

Answer: There are two reasons:

  1. When a lane is too narrow to safely accommodate both a car and bicycle side by side, the cyclist who hugs the curb runs an increased risk of being brushed or forced off the road. In this instance, it is safer for the cyclist to control the lane by riding in its center rather than hug the curb.
  2. Riding too close to the curb does not allow the cyclist the room to maneuver in the event that the cyclist needs to avoid hazards on the right edge of the lane i.e. potholes, sand, or drain grates.
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