Cycling Tip: Know When to ‘Take the Lane’

Cyclists should take the lane if it is too narrow for a bicycle and a motor vehicle to travel safely side by side (with three feet of clearance), you should ride in the center of the lane. If you are concerned that this will impede motor vehicle traffic, you can pull off the road (if it is safe to do so) to allow motor vehicles to pass, but do not hug the curb. This could tempt motorists to pass without giving you adequate clearance.

In some instances, you may be legally required to pull off the road to allow a motor vehicle to pass, but never when pulling off would be unsafe.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, you should “take the lane” if you are traveling at or close to the speed of motor vehicle traffic. For more information, see Wisconsin statute 346.59, minimum speed regulation.

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