Bicycling skills & techniques: Using the Left Half of the Lane | BikeWalkNC

Headlines are quick hits from media outlets from Missouri and around the world. Follow the headline link for the full story. The source of this headline says:

Bicycling in the left half of a travel lane provides substantial safety advantages in common traffic scenarios. Knowledgeable bicyclists who ride between the lane center and left tire track improve their maneuvering space, sight lines, and conspicuity to other drivers. This reduces the risk of typical car-bike crash types such as drive out, left cross, right hook, motorist overtaking and dooring collisions. North Carolina’s existing vehicle code assigns bicyclists the same full legal right to a marked travel lane as any other driver, allowing bicyclists discretion to choose their position within their lane based on context. (NC does not currently have any bicycle-specific law restricting where in a marked lane bicyclists may operate as an inferior user class; see this history article for details.)

MoBikeFed comment: Missouri has a slightly different bicycle law that North Carolina, requiring bicyclists to stay to the right of the lane in some situations.

However, Missouri law never requires bicyclists to stay further right than is safe, and also removes the bicyclist's duty to stay to the right whenever the travel lane is too narrow to safely share between a motorist and bicyclists.

Since the vast majority of Missouri travel lanes are 12 feet wide or less--which is clearly to narrow to safely share between motorist and bicyclists--this allows Missouri bicyclists to travel anywhere within the right-most travel lane in almost all situations.

Safety conscious bicyclists--particularly those who have taken Bike Ed courses organized by various bicycle advocacy organizations across the state and based on the League of American Bicyclists Bike Ed course or similar, very often use techniques like that one outlined in this article to improve safety.